Flames of the Torch: Well, this feels familiar

This time last year we were all well into our first few weeks of classes, prepared for what we thought was going to be another typical semester. Fast forward to a year later, and we wait in anticipation for what is now the second semester we are beginning in the middle of a pandemic that has impacted every aspect of our daily lives for the past 11 months. 

The Spring 2021 semester brings changes in the form of routine testing for students with in-person classes and a different approach to athletics, academics and campus life. We start this new semester with a new University president and a new President of the United States. We hope that these new beginnings are seamless in transition and that they bring us much needed relief, both as students and as U.S. citizens. 

In November our Editor-in-Chief and News Editor were invited to have a conversation with the new president of the University shortly after his election was announced. It was a relatively open conversation, and the Torch hopes that this transparency and honesty continues throughout Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P.’s presidency. The student body needs an interactive, conversational president who students recognize and whose role within the University students understand. Without this open line of communication and mutual visibility, the role of the president is unclear and muddled to students and the relationship is detached. 

Some of us are returning to campus for the first time in a year while many of us are continuing to learn from the comfort of our bedrooms. While some students graduated in December, others will be marking this semester as their very last at St. John’s University. This semester also brings about the end of the tenure of the Torch’s 98th editorial board. We aren’t planning to print our paper this semester – but we do hope that our seniors will at least be able to graduate with some sense of normalcy. 

It’s safe to say that while this semester feels like things are (in some ways) falling back into place in this new normal, in other ways it feels like starting all over again. With new guidelines imposed in New York State regarding quarantining and indoor dining, it feels like starting from square one all over again. The vaccine rollouts have started but several new strains of the virus have popped up in separate parts of the nation. We continue to practice social distancing and all of the other guidelines that we have been practicing since last March, but still begin the semester filled with much uncertainty. 

However, as with most spring semesters, one thing remains the same: we have to make the most of it. We have no other choice. We’ll be expanding our coverage, digging deeper, getting creative and working on bringing the stories that matter the most to the St. John’s community.