It is oh so bittersweet to be kicking off my final semester of college. At the same time, it breaks my heart that my college career is beginning its end in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Like everyone else, I assumed that by now life would resume its usual course like it did pre-pandemic, but, as we all know, this pandemic has prolonged into 2021. While I am sad that my college experience is taken away from me in the ways that it has looked in past years, I am still striving to make the best of the whole situation. Above all else, I am one month into my final semester of college and once my final semester ends, I will not go back for another semester at Meredith, pandemic or not.

To be honest, this past month has been rough for me in terms of struggling with the pandemic. Life during Covid-19 has been a rollercoaster – some stretches of time are much easier than others. Although I have been able to make everything work for myself and adjust to these new changes in our world, I cannot help but really miss the way life was before more than I have in the past months. In my opinion, my extreme missing of pre-pandemic life has to do with the fact that I am in my final semester of college – one that I had hoped would have been in improved times but is not nearly to the extent of which I have wished for. My college life has really thrived off of the social aspects, so it has been tough to have a lot of that go away as I want to experience a lot of things with my classmates who I cannot see. Likewise, I know many others are struggling with the same feelings.

Naturally, I am an extremely social person. I thrive off of hosting people over at my apartment in large groups, planning and/or attending the many social activities at Meredith, and experiencing several outings around Raleigh and beyond. 2020 was a season for remaining still and focusing on ourselves. Initially, it was a major challenge for me to remain still and close to home for months at a time without going anywhere else. However, I did adjust and adapt to these temporary times of staying close to home. Since this season of remaining still has extended into 2021, it has become much harder for me as my 21 year old self is very very very eager to get out and do things. The other day, my good friends and I were discussing how for people our age, “there are more things that we cannot do than we can do.” Covid-19 will end, but sometimes it feels never-ending, especially as someone who is eager to go out and do things. In fact, these feelings remind me of when I was a kid eagerly waiting for recess in elementary school – something that is super fun yet feels never-ending for it to arrive. Covid-19 is the same exact way – a recess of fun that will not be ending, unlike recess in elementary school.

Campus life at Meredith remains the same with social distancing precautions and mask wearing promoted at all times when not in your place of residence. On the same token, the event planning offices have been extremely smart and strategic when planning and executing events on and off campus. Many of them have been virtual, which while Zoom fatigue is real, the accessibility of Zoom to allow for people from everywhere and anywhere to come together has been a special silver lining of the pandemic at Meredith and beyond. The staff and faculty have Meredith have worked tirelessly to keep us safe and have continued to do so. If anyone’s heart has been breaking the most, it is theirs as they have had to watch all of us students miss out unintentionally on a lot of the action on campus due to Covid and so have they, since they thrive off of it. My time at Meredith has been one for the books and a blessing to me and the Meredith community is a major element of making it super special for me.

Being into my first month of my final semester at Meredith, I also remain very optimistic for my final semester and for the future. My Mom and I have said that currently we are in a dark dark tunnel, but there is a bright shining light coming at the end of the tunnel. It is ground-breaking to see that multiple Covid-19 vaccines have been approved less than a year since this pandemic even started. Science is incredible and it is all thanks to our extraordinary researchers and the countless hours of hard work that they have put into making this happen for us all. Another person that brings me hope and encourages me is Dr. Anthony Fauci – the head of President Biden’s Covid-19 Task Force. Dr. Fauci has always spoke the honest truth to all Americans, as he puts our safety and health at his best interest, while also bringing hope to us all. I greatly appreciate Dr. Fauci’s trust in the science and the non-sugarcoated truth of all coronavirus matters, while giving all Americans a glimpse of hope that this WILL end and we WILL not have to social distance as extensively moving forward. Times are tough, but I firmly believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

My final Spring semester has not been easy so far, but I am above all else grateful to be on my college campus and working towards acquiring a STEM degree and three minors with Honors come May 15. Here’s to better times ahead!!!

XOXO – Katie <3

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