The following blog will be nostalgic and even a little sad for me, a second semester senior on my way out of here, but hopefully encouraging and uplifting for first years. These blogs always put me in a particularly reflective mood, and having been on campus for about a month (at time of writing- closer to two months by time of publication), I’ve become acclimated to the bittersweet tinge on this part of my senior year. That being said, I’d love to dive into the little moments that I miss from a pre-COVID Loyola and that you can look forward to in a post-COVID Loyola, dear reader. I hold these moments close to my heart, appreciative of the2.75 years of normalcy that I had, and I pass them on in hopes that you will never take them for granted.
- The Student Center is technically still open and active, but I often find myself too COVID-paranoid to set up shop there anymore to work. The part about this that I miss most is the commotion; the ebb and flow of students into and out of the rare open seats, and the sometimes more-than-occasional interruptions of friends or acquaintances passing by who might stop for a quick hello or even sit down for a chat. Sometimes that one friend would turn into two or three until you’ve assembled a tight little group in a spontaneous meet-up that was terrible for productivity but incredible for morale.
- While club presidents have done an exceptional job of transitioning their meetings to the virtual world, nothing can compare to an in person club meeting. I’ve been in the acappella group Greysounds for the past three years, and I haven’t been able to sing with them since our last practice in March and our last performance was in November of 2019.I miss the stability of knowing that after a long day, I had somewhere physical to go and make good music, goof around, and spend time with some good people three nights a week. And I never thought I’d say this (my apologies to Sara Scalzo, who I love with my entire heart), but I miss in person Evergreen meetings too! I would gladly sit through a presentation I’ve already seen twice on a Friday afternoon to have that time before and after to catch up with other EGs, play silly games, and develop bonds with new faces. Again, clubs and organizations are doing a phenomenal job in the virtual setting, but know that there’s a certain beauty that you should never take for granted about meeting in person.
- I cannot hype OPTIONS and late night events up enough. Again, they have adapted so well to the online environment, but the memories I have on OPTIONS trips like snowtubing, apple picking, nights at the Cinemark, Hershey Park, and more make up some of my fondest in college overall. Being able to drop less than 20 dollars and go on a really unique trip with friends, or make friends along the way, is a very genuinely special opportunity that you should both look forward to and take FULL advantage of when it comes time. Along in this category I’d also add missing larger scale Loyola events like Loyolapalooza, the BSA Fashion Show, Chordbusters and other concerts/performances, and more.
- Similar to the first one, I miss a packed dining hall. Admittedly, between internship and COVID fear, I have not been to Boulder once all semester-- and I miss the dinner rush, creeping up on friends in the sandwich line, staking out a booth to grab with your friends, all of those little moments. Additionally, my suitemate encourages me to add as I write this, “There’s something special about getting to serve yourself.” An unfettered Boulder Garden Cafe or Iggys Market is a special thing.
- Finally I arrive at what school is all about: the academics. More specifically, I’m referring to academic camaraderie. I miss class acquaintances, who you look forward to
encountering before, during, and after a class, and who you occasionally meet for the impromptu study group. You can’t have a light chat or commiserate over midterms in a large Zoom room or from six feet apart with someone else, and those little moments make class so special and form lasting bonds. Along with the academic topic, I miss just dropping into a professor’s office on the off chance that they’re there to ask a question, staying after class to ask a question in person and then ending up talking about their family or research they’ve been working on, I miss in-person presentations (who would have thought I’d ever say that) and waiting outside of the room until they get there to be let in, chatting with anyone passing through the halls.
That’s all I can think of right now, but not a day passes when I’m not reminded of something else that I miss from a pre-COVID campus. I am grateful beyond belief to be here, but I hope this gives some hope of positivity and experiences to look forward to when things get a little more normal. For now, wear a mask and socially distance, make wise choices, and these times will come sooner than we think!