Petzold: What students are missing during COVID-19


Students hug in front of the Memorial Union during orientation May 31, 2017.

Megan Petzold

I want to begin the column by stating that I completely agree with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines to keep yourself and others safe during this unprecedented pandemic we are facing. I do not recommend breaking the guidelines for any reason, outside of leaving your home for necessities. 

Iowa State has declared that freshman orientation has been moved online. While to most people, orientation is just something you are asked to do, I remember enjoying my orientation experience. Dragging my mom around campus on my energizer bunny-level of excitement and trying to find the buildings amongst the crowd of other confused incoming freshmen and their parents is a memory I will always cherish. 

Freshman year was so great for me. Between exploring campus, enjoying its many beautiful seasons and simply being at college and going to classes, they were things I took for granted. I couldn’t imagine spending my first Iowa State spring indoors and not on campus. 

Sophomores and juniors are at the point in their college career where they have a routine, a friend group and enough seniority to roll their eyes at the freshmen wandering around campus, eyes glued to their phones, attempting to use MyState to find their classes. They are in the years where work is hard, classes are a hike apart and dorms are a thing of the past. Being in this category, I can say that online classes seem great in the beginning but have shown they are much more work with less social reward than simply walking to classes each day. I have grown to miss the 10-minute mile sprints I had to do. 

Seniors are the class I feel worst for in these trying times. Seniors will be missing attending their last lectures, seeing their friends, attending events on campus and so many other last experiences. I know if this was my last semester, I would be very disappointed to miss all of these moments I would be experiencing for the last time.

And finally, the graduating class of 2020! COVID-19 has caused Iowa State to close the school and move classes online from spring break until the end of the semester. This, of course, means seniors will not get to attend their graduation ceremonies. While the school has provided students with an online graduation ceremony, it just isn’t the same as going to the stadium and sitting in the sun with your classmates for hours and then finally hearing your name be announced while your family and peers cheer you on for all the hard work you have put into getting your degree. 

I believe there are three major moments in your life that are the big stepping stones into the next phases of maturity and personal growth. High school graduation, college graduation and marriage. While there might be more major events that help you grow in life, I think these celebrations can be a way to say goodbye to one phase of your life and hello to the next. 

As mentioned earlier, I fully recommend that people should follow the CDC’s guidelines for staying safe during this pandemic. However, I can’t help but think of what we are all missing out on during our time at college.