Reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic as students

Loss and Gratitude Can Take Different Forms

For freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, this is their first in-person spring term at Davis, and for most seniors, this is their second and last. It is a joyous time; not only is the spring term known to be Davis’ best, but it’s also a joy to return to activities that students haven’t been able to participate in for two years. There is a glorious sense of relief as the world begins to function a little closer to what it used to be.

Yet this return to “normal” life can also be painful, especially when contrasted with what we have lost in the pandemic. Young people have faced a unique set of challenges in recent years: many have juggled the financial burdens of pandemic shutdowns, cared for and supported sick family members, and learned how to survive a pandemic while being full-time students and dealing with the issues that come with being young adults.

Many students, especially seniors, reflect on their time at Davis and mourn the little things lost over the past two years. Meeting up with friends for a pho at MU, bumping into an old acquaintance outside of Wellman, cramming for midterms with classmates in the reading room—those little life events, as insignificant as they may have appeared a few years ago, finally become normal again. It’s bittersweet, however, since we haven’t been able to fully experience these things during our four years of college.

People have suffered varying levels of loss during this pandemic. The small social interactions that many have lost over the past two years, though small compared to the far greater consequences the pandemic has left on human life and health, are still valid for grieving. It’s normal to feel excitement about returning to old habits and experiences while also feeling melancholy about having to go back to them.

That being said, there are things that may never change now that we are coming out of the pandemic – some for the better. This includes flexibility with hybrid courses, greater openness to remote working, and wearing masks when sick.

Additionally, a number of students have found new directions in life as the pandemic has caused them to re-evaluate their values ​​and prioritize their personal well-being. For some, it might feel like a new career path or a new hobby. For others, it may be feeling exhausted from virtual learning and ready to take a break from class.

Every year seniors face some kind of apprehension about the future, but it can be even scarier to step into a world where the future has seemed so uncertain for the past few years. Leaving a place, while feeling like we can’t fully experience it, can create many conflicting emotions, feelings that some of us on the editorial board are having right now.

But with five weeks left of the spring term, it’s time to soak up all you can from Davis, whether you’re graduating or returning to school in the fall. Stroll down the Arb on a warm evening, lay in the grass at the Wednesday Farmer’s Market, and cycle at night without a sweatshirt because if there’s anything the pandemic has taught us, it’s is that moments like these, shared with those you love, are over and best celebrated in the present.

Written by: Editorial Board

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