Opinion: How I’m feeling as a college senior during the coronavirus pandemic

empty south college ave.
Sam Ford /THE REVIEW
“Three and a half years ago, I vowed to myself that I would never take a single moment for granted, knowing that at the end of May 2020, it would all be just a memory,” Emma Scholes says.

The past couple of weeks have felt like a dragging, foggy haze. Fear, sadness, grief and anxieties have blanketed over my brain like the apocalyptic clouds in the sky. And while it feels like my mind simply cannot rest, the only question I can manage to articulate over and over again is “What the f— is going on?”

Three and a half years ago, I vowed to myself that I would never take a single moment for granted, knowing that at the end of May 2020, it would all be just a memory. That promise has acted like a safety blanket in my subconscious, because I felt that as long as I kept it, I would be prepared to let the past four years go when it inevitably came time.

But no matter how tightly I squeezed my roommates while singing “Dancing Queen” on a Thursday night at Grotto Pizza, no matter how deeply I let the fresh air fill my lungs as I walked that awfully familiar yet eternally stunning route through campus, no matter how many pauses I took during the highest highs and lowest lows to reflect on what would become some of the most potent moments of my life, absolutely nothing would have ever prepared me for this.
It feels selfish to mourn the loss of my last semester of college while thousands mourn the loss of people that they love. But just because the two aren’t comparable doesn’t validate one and invalidate the other.

In a time of more uncertainty than I have ever had to deal with, I can’t blame myself for feeling a sense of loss for the spring break trip that I had to cancel. Or the bar crawls that I never got to experience. Or the last St. Patrick’s day that would’ve been spent on the balcony of Deer Park. It’s okay to grieve the loss of the budding relationship that got cut short. Or the end of an athletic career. Or the lectures that inspired you. Or the way campus started to buzz on the first warm day of spring. I can’t help but long for the happy hours that would’ve been spent sipping margaritas in the dwindling hours of sunlight on a seemingly perfect day. I wanted to skip class with my friends just to lay out on The Green and reminisce on the years behind us. I wanted to pop a bottle of cheap champagne in the fountain. I wanted to cry on the shoulders of the roommates that feel more like sisters in our empty house on the last day of our lease. I wanted to walk across the stage, holding my diploma and bask in all that I have accomplished in my time here. I wanted to throw my cap into the sky and think to myself “I did it.”

I’m devastated. I’m angry. I want to stomp my feet and wallow in it.

But instead of thinking of all that will be missed, I’ll think about all that I had. Three and a half years of thrilling freedom, intense responsibility, utter confusion, laughs that made me feel like I was growing a six pack of abs. When I think about my college experience, sure, I’ll remember the bizarre weeks spent trapped in my house playing countless card games with my roommates, but that is only one scene out of a much longer movie. I wish more than anything that I had a normal last semester of college but there is still so much worth holding onto.

Whether we like it or not, we’re taking a break. From everything. With all of the extra downtime, it’s common to feel the need to fill every moment of the day with something productive. Every social media post about “how to fill the time” makes us feel more and more guilty for what we supposedly should be doing. Learning a skill or starting a business or writing the next New York Times bestseller. But at possibly the most traumatizing time of our lives so far, there is nothing wrong with simply existing. For me, there are some days when all I can do is take a deep breath and appreciate what I have. Some days the best I can do is move from my bed to the couch and maybe make a bowl of mac and cheese on the way. Some days I wake up at 8 a.m. and go for a run and work on the website I’ve been putting off for the past few months. On days when you feel like working on your New York Times bestseller, go for it. But at a time like this, there is nothing wrong with just being. We can’t deny that we’re all in need of a break.

Emma Scholes is a senior media communication major and journalism minor. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect the majority opinion of The Review’s editorial staff. She may be reached at escholes@udel.edu.

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