A student walking on campus. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there have been less students walking on campus than we normally see. - File Photo / Miguel Martinez

As we approach the end of the semester and get ready for final exams, we should all take a collective sigh of relief. These past few months have been draining considering we learned material through a virtual format and somehow managed to stay afloat with our coursework.

Rowan’s campus had a different atmosphere this fall. No in-person events, no sporting events and hardly anyone seen walking around on campus. The one class I had that allowed for in-person attendance, Media Ethics, gave me back that feeling I had lost in mid-March.

The feeling I had lost was comprehending what I was learning through discussion with professors and other students. That is not to say I was not capable of taking in what I learned in my other classes, but there is no doubt this semester made that more challenging.

COVID-19 changed the structure of how universities and colleges operate. A hybrid format will be used in the spring to keep everyone safe and healthy, but maybe this is how things will be done in the future.

I support this way of learning until it is safe for everyone to come back to campus, but for students like myself, it is difficult and exhausting.

Trying to keep up with assignments, planning time for studying and mapping out what is next after graduation is stressful enough when you do not add COVID-19 to the mix. Having to navigate this all on our own made it seem like this semester would be impossible. Every class period, my professors would remind us that they were available for help at any time, which I thank them tremendously for.

For any student, whether a first-year or a senior, now is the time we would be looking to build our resumes or portfolios by applying to internships and jobs. Having to do interviews on Zoom or working from home is hard because we lose that social interaction, but if there is one thing I have learned, it is that students at Rowan never stop moving forward. 

There is still so much opportunity for us, even in a time like this, that it inspires me to stay ahead and keep working toward my future. Even though I have not been able to meet my classmates in person, I feel connected to them because of what we are all experiencing together.

If there is something I can take away from this semester, it is that even though this year was awful, being a student at Rowan made it better. I still had the chance to meet new people who taught me so much, but more importantly, I knew that everyone was going through the same thing.

This semester has been tough, but I feel as though it taught all of us something. For me, just seeing how other students achieve their goals in a time like this inspires me to do the same.

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