Have you wondered what it’s like being a college student during COVID-19?Especially one like me, in her first year and just getting used to university life? When the buzz about campus closing first started circulating Charleston, you could sense a mix of excitement, dread, and confusion among the students. Personally, I had no idea what to feel. Talk about an unprecedented time. A pandemic was threatening the end of our school year. It was threatening early morning runs at the battery, homework dates with friends at local coffee shops, and weekends that encompassed the perfect mix of staying out all night while still getting ready for next week’s classes.
The decision hit a few days later, when an email prescribed our return home. We did not want to leave. College is about much more than earning a degree. Obviously, that’s arguably the most important part; but it’s also about building a family, learning about yourself outside of the classroom, and making memories that will last you well into adulthood.
We packed up our dorms and apartments, and within a weekend, Charleston was significantly emptier. For the rest of the semester, the city would lack the bustle of busy college kids rushing to their classes, studying at the Battery, or grabbing bites to eat in their favorite restaurants on King Street.
For us, I think the hardest part about the whole situation was the transition to e-learning. We had become comfortable with our professors, the way each class flowed, where to be at what time, and how to juggle it all. Going home changed everything, and it was difficult to adjust with so little time.
It was no easier for professors who had to rework their entire syllabi to supplement the new normal. I was lucky, because my professors were very supportive and comforting. Others weren’t so fortunate and their grades suffered. Thankfully, most colleges and universities adapted to a pass/fail system instead of letter grades. This adjustment reduced a lot of the pressure on students throughout the final exam period.
As of right now, all we can do is hope that we can go back to school in August. Are things going to be different? For sure, but how could they not be after a time when the world essentially stood still. We are going to have to learn to adjust and make the best of whatever decision the College of Charleston gives us concerning next semester. If we’re lucky, the streets of Charleston will be our home once again.