March 16, 2020. A day I will never forget.
I was on the phone with my parents that afternoon when Waynesburg University decided its best option was to send everyone home. I remember walking frantically around my friend’s kitchen holding back tears.
I was stunned.
I simply could not wrap my head around the two news headlines of the day: my grandfather, a once healthy man, was being moved to hospice; and some unknown infection was forcing the closure of schools, businesses and all other activities.
As I look back on these events a year later, I am amazed by how much has changed. In the span of 365 days, America has lost over 500,000 people, some of whom I have had the pleasure of knowing. I am, however, grateful for what the “new normal” has brought – a sense of clarity and appreciation for what we take for granted in life.
- Rachel Pellegrino
I was sitting in a car in a Subway parking lot with my two best friends when the email announcing our university-sanctioned eviction hit me with the force of a minor car accident.
Instead of remembering that day by the gorgeous hike I had enjoyed, it was punctuated by the grief and shock of realizing “normal life” would be a stranger to me for quite some time. I mean, if my university could usher me into months of solitude, what else could or would wrench my joy away?
If life is made up of rhythms and routines I had lost my tune. But, gradually, I learned to sing a new song. I learned to hear music in places I had forgotten could hold my attention: the silence of a street devoid of cars, the wind tangling the leaves of an oak tree, my worn shoes as they circled my block for the 100th time.
As I reflect, the negativity of 2020 will always be juxtaposed with the beauty of falling in love with the mundane.
- Sierra Medina
Time quite literally stopped last March. It feels like yesterday and a century ago at the same time. We were stopped in our tracks before we knew what hit us. Countless lives lost, opportunities ruined and dreams shattered. But the more things change, the more they stay the same.
I’m still not sure how I feel looking back on that week or the past year. So much has been lost, but a lot has been gained too. Where would we be without COVID-19? That’s a question we can no longer afford to address. While things are looking up right now, there is still a lot of work to do.
The only thing we can do is live in the moment and make the most of what we have. That’s something a lot of people, myself included, thought they lived by before last year. If there is one silver lining to this tragedy, maybe we learned what being present truly means.
- Drew Hreha
It all began on March 12, 2020 when I walked into our Advanced News Writing and Reporting class and half-jokingly, half-seriously claimed that this would be our last meeting together, as other colleges were getting sent home at the time. The very next day, on March 13, we received an email of classes being moved online.
The email hit the inbox at around lunch time. I was getting back to my room from the cafeteria. The second I walked through the door I hung my jacket up on the wall and heard my phone buzz, while simultaneously hearing my roommate’s phone make the same sound from across the room. We both instantly checked our phones. Then, we both looked at each other and said nothing. My roommate left the room to go on a drive to cool off, while I sat in silence, in confusion and anger because of a virus that didn’t even seem that threatening at the time.
March 16 rolls around. I remember the deafening silence of Thayer Hall that day, as most of the residents had already moved out. It was only my roommate and I that were left in the creepy, old seafoam green-colored hallway. I couldn’t get too used to it though, as the next email we received told us we had to vacate campus immediately.
Once my dad arrived to help me move out for the year, my roommate and I stepped outside to take one last photo with the Thayer Hall sign. This was a sad moment, but also marked the end of an era. This was the end of normalcy for the indefinite future. This was a moment I wouldn’t forget.
- Lachlan Loudon