My last semester of college reflects some of the expectations I fostered during my first year. Independent Study (I.S.) is tedious, I am focused on graduate school and employment and I am feeling weird … but all from my house. I am fortunate enough that during a pandemic I have stable and safe housing with my family, but it still is not Wooster. I live less than an hour away and I miss campus and my friends terribly. However, being remote and at home this semester made the most sense for me and my family. I do not regret it, but I do not believe I would choose this again if I had the chance for a do-over.
Last semester on campus was hard for me. I lived in Schoolhouse and most of my senior friends were a long walk away and, with the COVID-19 guidelines, it made it hard to have an organic connection even then. I was not happy. I felt like I could not even go to the library and sit with my friends and do hours of homework together. Essentially, everything was online but one class and even then it was weird. Also, when I had my in-person class it was literally the only time once a week I was dressed up for the day and week. I was in my single doing homework and meetings almost all the time. It was isolating even with roommates.
This semester I am juggling a federal internship, classes, I.S., planning a conference and organizations all from the place I typically consider to be “relaxing.” I come home during breaks and literally do nothing to recover from my busy school schedule. Online meetings keep me feeling connected, but the senior planning process has not. I have gotten a lot of sympathy messages from professors and peers, stating they are proud of me and understand how difficult of a decision it was to not be on campus. In reality, it was not a difficult decision for me, just weird. I think the impact of my decision will honestly only hit me when it’s been a decade or more gone and I hear about other people having all four years on campus. My junior fall semester I was abroad in Greece, junior spring semester I was on campus for about eight weeks, and senior fall semester I was on campus for another eight weeks. I really only had two years on campus and two years to make my college experience. It is sad, too, because my sophomore spring semester I felt like I finally found where I belonged with student organizations and friends. I distinctly remember thinking, “The next two years will be just like this but better,” after I joined Alpha Gamma Phi, made new friends and started to be comfortable with who I am.
Senior spring semester remote is weird… I do not feel disconnected, but I also feel as if I am going through the motions of school in a weird alternative universe. I still wouldn’t have chosen anything different when I had to make the decision, but I think a lot about how I only had two years on campus and why that is probably a reason I am so heavily pursuing a grad school or law school program.