By Anna-Catherine Kueng
Where do I begin with my perspective as a student, specifically, a Lynchburg Hornet, in the midst of a pandemic?
First, I want to acknowledge that I could never say what virus I am referring to in this article, and you would still know. Turn on the news, get on Facebook, look at the toilet paper aisle at the grocery store, or basically talk to another human being, and you will hear about the Coronavirus. It has sparked conversation around the world, put masses into panic, and most impacting for me, it has moved my college classes online.
Recently, I saw a meme on Facebook announcing a girl was starting college at “Da Crib University.” I chuckled, yet at the same time, it is alarming to think about how seriously the virus is affecting everyone and that it has closed UL’s campus.
However, I am no stranger to going to school at home.
Strangely enough, it was in my sophomore year of high school that I had to go on homebound, just as I am currently in my sophomore year of college. When I was 15, I became sick with a heart problem and had to spend an entire semester in bed. I remember my homebound teacher bringing me homework three times a week, and I would lay in bed wondering how I would get it all done. It was a lonely, overwhelming time. I missed my friends, my teachers, and just being able to go to school every day.
For many of my peers, I know this transition of going to college at home is a rough one. Personally, I love my hometown, and I am so grateful for the extra time I get to spend with my loved ones and friends here. It is not too upsetting for me to temporality leave my Lynchburg life behind. However, I am aware that not everyone has great home lives and they may prefer being away at school. For peers in those circumstances, I am sorry for you and hope things are the best they can be for now.
I know some people are angry that their college experience is being reduced to that of a laptop or phone screen now. I get it. People go away to school for the whole experience and being in your house all day just isn’t going to cut it. But, personally, I am thankful that the university is looking out for our best interests in the midst of medical chaos.
I guess more than anything, I am confused and anxious to see what it will be like to have my classes online. I took a few online AP classes in high school, but I never did live video chats like I am about to do once my classes start back. Waking up for my 8:30a.m. class while at home is going to be strange, and I am already thinking about where I will “attend” class. Should I sit at my kitchen table? Stay in my bedroom? Go outside? The possibilities are endless.
And what about papers and presentations– how will those get done? I have so many questions that keep me up at night, as I am sure my professors have them, too. (Thank goodness we have an extended spring break so we can adjust to the new reality!)
Once I get into the routine of my online classes, things won’t feel so weird; but, right now, everything feels uncertain and confusing.
However, just as you can always find in bad times, there are good parts, as well. My professors have been sending kind emails reassuring my classmates and me that everything will be okay and that we will get through the transition together. As cheesy as it sounds, I know Lynchburg is a close community, and just because we can’t all physically be together now does not make it less of a community. If anything, I know this odd experience is bringing us together in new ways.
Speaking of bringing us together, I was talking to my roommate about how The Annex did that just last semester. When I started my sophomore year in August, I never imagined I would begin classes at The Annex, transition to Westover Hall, and then (tentatively) finish the year at home. When I first heard that I was going to be living at The Annex and not the new residence hall, it felt bizarre, but the year has only gotten crazier since August!
As weird as it was to live off-campus for a few weeks at the start of the school year, I still managed to make good memories with my friends at The Annex. And even now, I am able to keep up with my Lynchburg friends through social media and texting group chats. We may not be together, but we are still making memories whether it is freaking out about online classes together, sending memes, or just catching up on how our breaks are going.
All in all, being a college student during the Coronavirus pandemic is an experience I know I will look back on when I am older. It is a time that is testing the Lynchburg community, yet bringing it together somehow. I know one day this will all be in the past, but it is unlike anything I have ever experienced in my academic life thus far. I am curious to see how everything will turn out once we start back to class.
To conclude, I want to say that my sophomore year of college has definitely been the most unpredictable one yet. I remember my 19-year-old self in August, bewildered about having to live at The Annex; now, I look back and chuckle. If only she could’ve seen us now…