by Evi Arthur / Editor-in-Chief
This week I had to say goodbye to my college years in a matter of days.
As you all know by now, schools across the globe have been closing and switching to online classes in order to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
For some reason, when this began happening in the United States, I never expected it to happen to MY school — most likely because all of this has seemed so surreal. I expected all the chaos to stay far out there in the world and never breach my safe little bubble.
However, Roosevelt recently announced that all classes will be online for the remainder of the semester — according to Roosevelt’s emergency response page — which means I’m officially done with classes. Instead of staying in my campus-adjacent apartment that is now completely empty of people, I decided to move back in with my parents for the foreseeable future — having someone around who doesn’t burn food as often as I do will certainly be beneficial.
Although I’ll have classes online for the rest of my college career, and I haven’t officially graduated just yet, the life I knew is still over. My days of begrudgingly getting up for my 9:30 class, drinking my coffee and listening to a podcast while I do my makeup are over. The days I would walk into class and plop down next to a friend and ask if they understood the homework (because I sure didn’t) are over. The days of spending an afternoon in the Torch office assembling the paper until the editors and I are all slaphappy and incoherent are over.
I’ll never again run a Torch meeting, cursing under my breath at the whiteboard that is matte and requires Windex and elbow grease to erase. Never again will I get into a heated, punctuation-related discussion in editing class, each of us reaching for an AP Stylebook to prove the other wrong. Never again will I sit in a comm lab and stress about a video project — I never thought I’d miss those awful green walls and Final Cut Pro.
And now, as of Thursday morning, commencement has been canceled, according to the office of the president. The image I pictured during convocation —walking across the stage under the glimmering arches of lights and receiving a bachelor’s degree that I poured my blood, sweat and tears into — has dissipated. The office included a link to a survey where students can vote to postpone the ceremony for a later time in June, but personally, I think it will be difficult for many people, myself included, to come back at that time.
The chaotic and busy life I have come to adore is gone, replaced with class on a screen on my parents’ red loveseat and remote article editing. Then, in the next few months, I will be moving away for a big-girl job (hopefully) and my life in Chicago will be long gone.
Roosevelt and the Torch have been my home for the past three years and it’s really hard saying goodbye — especially like this.
I always thought on my last day I would be able to sit in class, look back on my college years and say goodbye. I thought I’d be able to thank my professors face-to-face for all they’ve taught me and eventually say goodbye to the Torch room, where I have practically lived for the last two years. I thought I’d have a moment in class where I could appreciate the discussion among my classmates and cement it in my memory. Instead, the coronavirus has taken all of that away from me.
All things considered, I know that I am one of the lucky ones. I don’t have immunocompromised family members to worry about, I have not been kicked out of my dorm and am now homeless, and I have not died. I understand the precautions that are being taken are for the safety of myself and those around me — but that doesn’t make this any easier.
I’ve spent most of this extended spring break trying to figure how to cope with this new ending that I never expected. I almost feel like I’m in mourning.
I don’t have any words of wisdom or advice for any of you who are in my boat, so for that, I’m sorry. I hardly know what to tell myself or how to cope with this abrupt ending to what has been my favorite years of my life thus far. I know that eventually, things will feel normal again and we will all move onto bigger and better things, and our senior year that was cut short will be a blip in our memories — something to tell kids and grandkids about. But knowing this doesn’t help the sinking feeling in our chests.
But do know that you’re not alone. For those of you who are also sitting on your parents’ sofas feeling confused and weird: I know exactly how you feel. I’m also sad and confused, and I can’t figure out how to wrap my brain around this either. But we will make it through — one way or another.