Tag: seniors

“That’s All Folks!” by Alyssa Schiff

And just like that, the spring semester of 2020 has come to a close. For some, this is the end of life at UD and in college. What would already be an incredibly bittersweet, exciting, and uncertain time has now been made more bittersweet and uncertain by the global pandemic. Seniors have not been able to say goodbye to professors, friends, and the campus as a whole. Closure for the end of this chapter will need to wait until we are able to have an in-person graduation at a later date.

Having said all of this, it seems the world really is sympathizing with seniors. In the past few days I watched as John Krasinski held a virtual graduation and commencement for graduating seniors on his YouTube show “Some Good News,” bringing together countless celebrities including Jon Stewart, Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, and even Malala Yousafzai. Then another virtual ceremony was held featuring the Obamas, LeBron James, Malala Yousafzai, the Jonas Brothers, Pharell Williams, and many many more.

What a strange time to be entering “the real world.” Despite the uncertainty and obvious disappointment in losing a typical senior spring, this is also a time of gratitude for me. I have been unbelievably fortunate through this period. I was able to continue living in Newark in a very comfortable apartment with my best friends where we have internet capable of supporting six computers all day. I have also remained healthy, and have been able to make the best of quarantine by being surrounded by wonderful friends.

My roommates and I have had countless movie nights, themed dinners, celebrated holidays, gone for social distancing picnics, take-out nights, drives blasting music, and we have even opened a home salon where several of us have had our hair cut or dyed (don’t worry, no bangs!). We have commiserated, but also shared our joy and gratitude for this time together.

Looking back on my time at UD, I have only endless gratitude. I owe so many thanks to the professors who have pushed and encouraged me, to the Honors program for being a support system and for providing countless opportunities, to the McNair Scholars program for facilitating my research and my path to graduate school, to the Writing Center for providing such a lovely work environment, and to all my fellow classmates, friends, and students who have changed and inspired me.

When I applied to UD and the Honors program, I wrote an essay on optimism. I wrote that I am optimistic because the beauty of humanity is that we are all constantly inspired and moved by each other. That people always change each other, sometimes for the better and sometimes not, and how wonderful that can be. While I cringe looking back on that essay, I feel the sentiment now more than ever. We may not be able to physically be together on campus for a graduation, but we will carry each other — friends, classmates, faculty, and staff alike — and UD with us for the rest of our lives. I would like to think as much as being a UD student has changed all of us, that we have also affected change to UD during our time by questioning the systems in place, furthering research, writing, performing, and more.

I think often on a quote from Kurt Vonnegut’s novel If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?: Advice for the Young. He writes, “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”” And perhaps these last four years weren’t just “nice” but instead challenging, frustrating, difficult, joyous, and wonderful. We have been stressed and sleep-deprived, but also (hopefully) changed for the better, and if that isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

“The Pros and Cons of a Virtual Existence” by Erin Jackson

Keeping in touch with people when they’re not in the same room as me has never been my strong suit. As a senior, I was already worried about maintaining long-distance relationships with the people who have been walking distance from me for the past four years. Now that our time together has come to a screeching halt months earlier than planned, I am at a loss for how to salvage these friendships, some that were just beginning to grow. However, with one text from my roommate, I began to think hope might not all be lost.

Freshman year, my roommates and I stuck around for winter session. Along with some other scattered friends throughout our floor and others in Redding, we got caught up in an epidemic of our own creation: an obsession with Words with Friends. I don’t remember how it started or how it ended, but I can clearly picture drawn out meals in Kent dining hall, sitting across from friends who became my virtual opponents. Meals would last hours as we got caught up competing for the longest word, while making every effort to block the triple word spaces that could be used against us. One game per friend wasn’t enough either. We each easily had two or three games between us at a time, and we would immediately begin a rematch each time a game ended. The individual games were impossible to keep track of, making it hard to remember who won and who lost. The perfect combination of luck, strategy, and skill, Words with Friends kept our minds sharp as we procrastinated those long winter days away.

Like I said, I don’t know how it ended, but in the past three years since that first winter session, I haven’t even thought about the game. In fact, when my roommate texted me in the first week of the quarantine, asking me if I wanted to start up the addiction once more, I had to redownload the app. What started as a friendly game between my roommate and me took on the same momentum it did our freshman year. As the games and opponents started to increase exponentially, spreading contagiously throughout households and across state borders, the expectations kept rising. While ten and twenty-point words were acceptable at the beginning, I now find it hard to settle for anything less than thirty. There’s a sort of excitement that comes with breaking forty, fifty, sixty points, accompanied with not seeing your opponent in person but feeling them exact their revenge in a torrent of tiles overlapping with your own. Continue reading

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