Thankful for my hometown when college shuts down

Contributed Community

By Lucia Hodges 

I’ve always known that I wanted to go to college as far away as possible. Don’t get me wrong, growing up in small town Madison was an absolute blessing and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. This tight knit community made me into the person I am today. However, when the time came to start applying for college, my adventurous spirit led me to apply to schools across the country. Ultimately, my heart was set on California, the sunshine state. I found Santa Clara University, a private Jesuit college just south of San Francisco, which I’m now lucky to call my second home. 

I started my freshman year at Santa Clara in September. 

Being far from all I had known for 18 years was scary, but I quickly adapted. I made so many friends, joined a sorority and on-campus clubs, excelled in my classes, and found comfort in my new home. By October, my parents started making fun of me for adopting the “Californian accent” that Saturday Night Live always mocks. 

However, my freshman year in “Claradise” was cut short. My friends, my classes, and my home were taken away from me out of nowhere. The Coronavirus (a.k.a COVID-19) struck Santa Clara county hard, making it one of the hotspots of the country. The number of people being infected by the virus was doubling by the day, but I never thought it would get to this extreme.

On Monday, March 9, Santa Clara cancelled classes, making all of our instruction online. My peers quickly packed their bags in a panic and got on the next available plane home. I dragged out my stay, hoping that it was all just a nightmare and that I would wake up to my 8:00 a.m. lectures and daily library dates with my friends. I stuck around for an entire week, anticipating an email from the school saying this was all just an early April fools joke. Unfortunately, I eventually had to realize that my freshman year was over and that it was time to come back to Madison. 

With college comes a new life and a lot more freedom. I’ve been home for a week now, and I am still trying to adjust to living under the same roof as my parents. 

But who am I to complain? I have a roof over my head, food to eat, and a loving home. Some college students had to go home to abusive households or to parents who can’t sufficiently take care of them during this high stress time. 

Some students rely on college for real meals.

If you are blessed enough to have a loving home to stay in, stay in it. Please don’t go out. Our country, our world, is dealing with a pandemic that some of us, including many of my generation, are making worse. For us college students who have lost their freedom, just remember that going out every night and ignoring government mandates is exacerbating the issue, and dragging out our stay at home. 

Obviously, this situation has been devastating to people all over the world. Definitely, we college students whose lives have been disrupted need to keep things in perspective. But to my fellow freshmen in college who got their time cut short, I hate that we didn’t get the full freshman year experience. I am sorry that all of our new friends and favorite places got taken from us. 

To those who’ve had their summer jobs and internships canceled, I’m so sorry. To the seniors who are missing graduation, my heart is breaking for you. This all will end soon. I know it will. 

But, right now, it is difficult for all of us.

It is time to heed the advice of health experts and our local and federal governments, and do our part to bring this to an end by staying in and practicing social distancing. 

Santa Clara is anxiously waiting to have all of its students back on campus, and so are all of your colleges. 

Do your part, and we’ll be back to frat parties, midnight study sessions, and dorm room sleepovers sooner than later. 

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