I think I can speak for everyone when I say I miss how things used to be.
My college experience has been severely altered by the coronavirus and I wish every day that things can get better, but that is not how this works. I, personally, am filled with so much angst and frustration and anger at this whole situation and I do not know what to do because it is not anyone’s fault that this is happening to our world. I never would have thought my college experience would be like this.
I started college in the Fall of 2018, and it was already so different from what I had expected; and this was before the pandemic started or was even a thought in our minds. I ended up meeting some of my best friends in the spring and I think I would have valued my time with them more if I had known how little I would see them over spring and summer breaks in the semesters to come. I should be able to do these things with them this year: going on road trips, having campfires, going swimming and being close. Spending my late teens and early 20s doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing: being a stupid college kid.
My sophomore year brought about a lot of family issues and, honestly, if it was not for the pandemic, I would still be living with my awful father and his girlfriend and her kids. So, while I am so upset with a lot of pandemic-related issues, it led me to be much closer with my mom, and that is something I would not change at all. I guess it just shows that in times of trouble there are still good things we can have and appreciate.
We went home the spring semester of my sophomore year and I don’t think anyone really understood, at that time, how much the pandemic would take over our lives. My first mask was made by my boyfriend’s mom and it was yellow. I remember trying it on and I had a full melt down. I did not want to wear it. I wanted to throw it away. I did not want to think I would need to wear a mask in general at all, and now I cannot go anywhere without one.
I am a junior this year and have so many things I can think about when it comes to regular courses, grad school and how will I navigate a post-COVID world when I have already become so accustomed to living so separate from those I care about. I think a lot about how the world will be when this is all over. I just want to breathe the air unrestricted; I want to hug people and not be scared; I want to go to Disney World. I do not want to tear up thinking about these things. There is a sense of selfishness I feel about wanting to do these things. While I have been directly affected by the pandemic, I feel selfish for wanting to do these things, especially after so many people have lost their lives.
I think the way we live right now has shown how strong we can be when we work together and how we need to continue to do these things so that one day we do not have too anymore. There is so much hurt in my heart and in many other people too. I wish and hope, and pray, and dream that someday we can be together again. But, for now, we need to be strong, and we need to be brave and then someday, somehow, things will be better.
Lydia Mardin can be contacted at: