The Light at the End of the Tunnel: Staying Hopeful for a Fall Semester

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Brianna Gountis

Contributing Writer

As students enter their second full semester of virtual learning, many are struggling. 

The thing that keeps us all going on our bad days is hope; hope that we can stay healthy, that we can find a solution, and that we can return to normal. 

Students are really hoping for an end to long Zoom meetings, headaches from staring at computer screens, and the loneliness of social distancing. 

The desire for a return to campus is nothing to feel guilty about– I don’t think that anyone should feel bad for keeping a positive mindset. 

The move to virtual learning has taken a toll on a lot of students. Nobody knew when we left last March that we wouldn’t be on campus again for over a year.

“I don’t think hope for normalcy is selfish, however if it manifests itself into needlessly- and recklessly- endangering students and faculty… then it is.” student Samantha Gallo said.

Many students agree that hope itself is natural and is not selfish, but that we should not allow the desire for normalcy to overpower the reality of the pandemic and its consequences. 

“We can want all we want,” student Kayana Brown said, “But if the necessary protocol is still needed to ensure the majority safety then it still should be upheld.”

Brown also added that what would be selfish is students and faculty deciding to return to normal without careful consideration of the circumstances and safety protocols.

“What would be selfish is someone saying ‘I’m going to return to campus no matter what the consequences are,'” Brown said.

The key factor for students is safety. The hope for normalcy and a return to campus is not as great as the want or need for the community and faculty to stay safe and healthy.

With this current semester being my last, I yearned for a return to the beautiful campus and the excitement of college life, but as much as I desired normalcy my sense of responsibility to keep my community safe was greater. 

In addition, I believe that the perspectives and health of students and faculty that are immunocompromised or have family being affected by the virus needs to be taken into account when planning for the fall semester.

This pandemic is harder to navigate for some people and that needs to be taken into account. 

Nobody can predict the future, and we as a society do not know how this pandemic is going to shake out.

I think we all find ourselves clinging to hope and trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel amid this uncertainty.

A final decision for the fall semester is something that will need to occur further down the road when we know more about how it will impact our community.

For now all we can do is wear a mask, social distance, and hold out hope for better and safer days ahead. 

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