The Class of 2021 Missed Out & We Need to Acknowledge It

It is a Thursday, and I receive a call from my father. Today is the day that I had received 4 awards for all of my achievements throughout my Senior year of college. He is shocked and extremely proud. He, then, proceeds to tell me how upset he is that he did not get to watch me receive these awards in-person. My Freshmen year of college, I had won a big award for my work for my class and I had been apart of a huge in-person ceremony filled with applause and all, including my Dad sitting front row in Jones Auditorium. Due to COVID-19, my awards ceremonies were done in the form of a YouTube video with no introductions and applause. Although my school had done the best they could to celebrate us all, it still broke my heart, especially when my Dad had felt the same way. Like these awards ceremonies, pretty much all of my traditional college events have either been canceled or moved to a virtual format since March 2020. As a member of the Class of 2021, I missed out and so did my classmates and we must take the time to acknowledge it.

Growing up, my mother always told me how much she loved her college experience. She has such fond memories of her time at Virginia Tech with all of her best friends right by her side. She told me about the parties, the friendships, and the memories that she made. She always wanted me to make the best of my college experience. I believe I truly did, even during this pandemic. However, no one ever prepared me or my classmates for what was to come with COVID-19. None of us even knew or would have thought that COVID-19 would shape our world into what is it today and as fast as it all did. In a pre-pandemic world, I was out and about 24/7. I was in meetings, planning events, and going out and around town ALL THE TIME. I also hosted several parties at my apartment. Nowadays, I spend most of my time at my desk with my monitor working on things. No one really comes over and I usually leave my apartment to go to Target or take a walk around campus. I started my blog during the pandemic, in order to keep me busy and full of enjoyment. At times, I miss what my college life was like before without even realizing it, like many others in the Class of 2021.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, everyone was super saddened and concerned for the Class of 2020. At this point in time, none of us knew or even thought that this pandemic would last into 2021 let alone Spring 2021. The Class of 2020 did have to depart from their college experiences abruptly and it breaks my heart for them. However, they only lost the last 2 months and not even of their college experiences. We in the Class of 2021, on the other hand, have lost a year and 2 months of our traditional college experiences. Since the pandemic began, we have had to endure the reminder of our college time in Zoom classes – not able to see our classmates and professors in-person – and have had to miss out on events that would occur in any other year. I cannot tell you how many things I have looked forward to doing in my Senior year of college that were cancelled and feeling as if since I could get through ending my Junior year of college on Zoom, then Senior year wouldn’t be so bad, too. My classmates and I feel anything but that. We missed out and we miss seeing each other more than anything.

With our world transitioning to a post-COVID-19 world, I cannot think but hope and pray for the Classes behind me – the Class of 2022, Class of 2023, Class of 2024, and the incoming Class of 2025. Each of these classes have been robbed of their traditional college experiences due to the pandemic. My hopes is that they do not have to miss out on any more that me and my Class of 2021 classmates had to miss out on. I hope that they can move beyond the computer screens and into the classrooms to learn with one another and in each others’ presences – the same goes for events and simple outings and study groups. My classmates and I in the Class of 2021 missed out on a lot, but we cannot forget to acknowledge that so did those in the classes behind me and they may miss out on even more, too.

I cannot tell you how many people have told me that they miss seeing me this year. I miss seeing them, too. I miss seeing my friends, classmates, professors, amongst many others more than anything. I miss simply being with others and in their presence. My classmates do too. We miss it more than anything. But, above all else, we miss our college experience – the one that we never envisioned a pandemic would abruptly take away from us.

XOXO – Katie <3

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