Campus feels like a community once more

Same Tapper Editor-in-Chief

Last week while walking back to North Campus, I noticed a group of students playing volleyball on the Residential Quad. Almost immediately, a bundle of emotions came to mind.

My first thought was to text our photo editor. She has been dying to get photos of students actually socializing on campus: something that, a year ago, would never have seemed like a challenge.

Following my brief text conversation with her, I stood and watched from afar for about 30 seconds. Not in a creepy way, but in one of those brief, out-of-body reflective moments. I remembered being on that beach volleyball court myself, as a freshman living in Wilkinson Hall. Almost every night, that first month of my college career, I found myself on that court: making friends, remembering faces and just being thankful that I got to experience what I was living.

It feels like just yester-day when I was in those students’ shoes, but it also feels like a lifetime ago with everything that has transpired since.

With the weather getting up to the high 60s in recent days, we are beginning to see something on campus we really have not seen all year: people. When we first came back in late August, the pandemic was still rag-ing and you were lucky to see 10 people while walk-ing around campus. Then the weather turned frigid, and students stayed inside during the colder months, as it is customary.

But now, the sight of students playing Frisbee on the quad or studying under the shade of a tree returns once more, acting as a sense of hope for the university and its students. Regardless of your thoughts on the pandemic, generally we can all agree that we crave a “return to normalcy” which, even with numerous available vaccines, is still an in-determinable amount of time away. However, the sight of the campus look-ing like a real, functioning college again does give off a much-needed dose of normalcy.

I graduate this coming May. Meaning my days of walking around this campus mask-less are over, despite my upcoming vaccine eligibility. My days of living out a “normal” college experience are behind me, and I largely knew that a year ago when we were sent home.

But it is my hope that the classes of 2022, 2023 and 2024 will see the university get back to its “normal” state, so they may experience the real joys and opportunities this university has to offer, just as I did pre-pandemic. But in the meantime, I am not done here just yet. And seeing people around campus, feeling as if I am a part of a community once again, makes it easier to continue to push forward and finish strong. The end is in sight.

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