College. They say it’s supposed to be the best 4 years of your life-well 3.75 years for me. When my college career on campus was cut short mid-March I didn't know how to react. They told us we were moving to online learning. They told us we needed to leave campus. They told us we needed to socially distance. So that's what I did. It wasn't until I was sitting in my childhood bedroom after moving back home that everything set in. No more weekends out with my friends. No more movie nights in the lounge. No more 12 hour days filled with class, club meetings, another class, a Senate meeting and working on a group project due at midnight. No more avoiding people in the halls. And in my case, no more Saint Peter’s, my home for the last four years.
On Thursday, April 16th, I took a walk through the empty campus, moving east to west. Getting out of the car on Glenwood Avenue, I started at the student center a favorite of many students, myself included. Even outside, from Panepinto Plaza, it was obvious the hub of campus activity, where I spent at least 20 hours a week, was empty. Out of habit, I wanted to take my lanyard out of my pocket, scan my ID and head up to the SGA office but I didn’t. As I walked toward the east campus residence halls, the sounds of the wind and birds chirping filled my ears and for a second-just a slight second-I wondered “Is this what a college campus sounds like outside of a city?” Silly, I know.
Crossing the bridge this day didn’t feel the same, the walk across seemed longer. When I finally got to the quad, that on a normal day would’ve been full of people rushing to get to their 1 PM class, it was a ghost town. Crinkling leaves whirled around like tumbleweeds in the desert. The only sign of life was a few tulips and daffodils blooming outside of Gannon Hall. But across the quad in almost exact opposition were locks and chains on the gates between the library and Pope Hall. Suddenly the parts of campus I took for granted were so inaccessible and I found myself wishing I could check out a book to help with my research paper or grab a cup of coffee from Pavo Perk. At this point, I had enough so I sulked through the rest of campus towards West Side. It was time to go home to my “new normal.”