Petzold: College among coronavirus

Columnist Megan Petzold writes about what experiences college students have missed out on due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Megan Petzold

There have been many things we all have had to adjust to because of the worldwide pandemic going on. However, something I have never been able to feel comfortable compromising on are experiences. No, I don’t mean the “go to a bar and try to find a ride home at two in the morning because I didn’t begin the night with a plan.” I mean actual, everyday college experiences. After all, for most of us, we have roughly four to five years to gather as many experiences as we can before we enter the real world. There is a limited time to make a limited amount of experiences, and after we graduate, it is unlikely that we will be able to do the same things we could have done in college again. 

For instance, those who graduate in the spring or the summer will likely not be able to attend their own graduation in person. I believe, and I hope that I’m wrong, that graduation this spring is going to be virtual. I don’t know how the university could make it an in-person experience this late in the semester, but I hope they do. However, if graduation is virtual, that will be another major college experience that we can never get back. 

While we have all lost a lot, I feel like Iowa State is doing its best to make spring semester as interactive as they can. It has been shown that there has been an increase of in-person classes on college campuses, which is beneficial to both those students who want to spend time in a normal college atmosphere and those who are just beginning college and have not yet had the opportunity to go to a full day of in-person classes. I don’t think college feels like college unless you are doing the routine college activities — by this, I mean things like taking the bus to campus every day no matter the weather, making yourself sprint across campus because you only have 10 minutes to walk from Howe to Troxel, or taking the meek hour between a day of classes to attempt to caffeinate or nourish yourself. One article shows current students are wanting to return to in-person classes more than they want to have only online classes. College just doesn’t feel the same without these key experiences. 

As expected, there was a normal spike in students who got COVID-19 at the beginning of the semester, but I feel as though that spike has begun to decline, and I feel we all are thriving more with in-person classes.

As long as we all are following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to keep ourselves and our classmates healthy, along with staying isolated if you are to test positive for COVID-19, maintaining a semi-in-person class schedule is a good enough solution for the situation we are in right now. However, there are still a lot of things students are missing out on because of the pandemic.