I found St. John’s by chance while undergoing the painful experiences of filling out college applications two years ago. My only knowledge of the University came from watching Chris Mullins on the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team.” I knew I wanted to go from my small town in Kentucky to New York City and my first time on campus during orientation reinforced that I made the right decision. I loved my summer orientation, meeting people from around the world. When I finally made the 12 hour drive in late August, I was welcomed by droves of people in red ready to guide me around campus. I then moved into Donovan Hall and met my equally apprehensive roommates (who then became two of the best people I have met in my life). My time on campus was unlike anything I could have imagined and I am thankful for the eight months I got on campus before being rushed home in March. While online school did have its benefits — and I was able to return to my country hometown with a new appreciation and outlook — I prayed that my senior year would not be taken from me in the way that it had for so many of my friends and fellow members of the Torch. Thankfully, I now get to drive back up to the city for one last hurrah before I am forced to figure out what I am going to do with the rest of my life. Until that dark day, I am going to enjoy every day that I have back on campus after being deprived of it (even the classes that I would much rather be online taking so I could watch anime during it). My only hope now is that this delta variant does not take away what scientists have worked so hard to produce a vaccine for, and that I am not rushed home again this fall.
I remember my first day on campus. I moved in around noon, nervous yet excited to meet my roommates and explore the campus. The Residence Hall street (in front of Montgoris Hall) was animated with crowds, photo booths and plenty of other activities to keep my mind off the uneasiness of living independently for the first time. That same week, there was a mirror house, light show and refreshments on the Great Lawn. I met some of my best friends during move-in week and it is disappointing to see the class of 2024 and 2025 missing out on such a momentous college memory. I am grateful to have experienced college life for two years and attended everything from seminars to pizza parties. Online education, although necessary during the pandemic, deprives students of a bank of memories to look back on years from now. Sitting at home and staring at the cursor blinking on the screen for my junior and senior years is not college. I realize I prefer engaging with the material in class through dialogue and interaction, rather than falling asleep watching recorded lectures and YouTube videos for online classes. The Fall 2021 semester will be an interesting one as the University loosens regulations and attempts to revert to pre-pandemic activity levels. With the delta variant on the loose, I am uncertain about returning, yet the idea of breathing life back into campus after the viral respite is enticing. Most likely, my last year at St. John’s will be remote, far away from the beautiful skyline at the top of the stairs and the Starbucks on campus. In the future, my first two years at St. John’s will probably be all I remember since my junior and senior years are a blurry mix of YouTube, Google Docs and Canvas.