COVID has had a big effect on everyone. I know everyone is going through their own things, and every single person has their own COVID tales. I thought I would use this platform to tell you all mine, so you're able to see that no matter how isolated we are at the moment, you're not alone.
COVID derailed my spring semester as it did for every other student across the world. Oberlin sent us home, and I spent the second half of the spring semester taking online classes. My grades from the second part of the semester were not where I had hoped they would be, but thankfully the effort I put in before the pandemic sent us packing was enough to make up the difference. I know many friends who did not fare as well as I did and are grateful to Oberlin for the Pass/No Entry system they set up. Because of the pandemic, Oberlin allowed students to essentially remove classes from their transcript if they did not do well enough to pass the class. Personally, I had professors drop passing grades and remove assignments to make COVID easier to handle. It was still difficult to find the motivation to get up at 6 am to take my classes (the time change between the east and west coasts is rough), but I managed to only skip one lecture in the month and a half of online classes.
But the main way COVID affected my freshman year was my summer. I was expecting to be able to travel back to Australia to visit my family before coming back for my sophomore year. That didn't happen, and I ended up spending the summer in California. The one good thing to come out of this summer is that I have spoken to people that I have not spoken to in a very long time. I have reconnected with old friends and co-workers, and it's been nice to be able to make as best of a situation as I can out of the current situation the world is in.
However, I said I wanted this to be an honest reflection, so I am going to do just that. As I am sure it has done for many people, COVID has wreaked havoc on my mental health. Depression and anxiety are always something I have dealt with, but being isolated and only being able to interact with my uncle and aunt has not been any sort of help. I find myself reaching more and more for my friends online, but the moment I hang up I go back to feeling awfully alone. And I don't tell this story to inspire pity, I tell this story so that if someone reading this feels all alone, they know they are not alone in feeling that way. To that person, I want to say, remember that you do have friends out there. All you have to do is reach out. And it may feel like you're the one that's always reaching out, and so no one actually cares about you, but I promise they do. They're also feeling the exact same way.
I'm really excited to be going back to campus in the fall. My personal belief is that Oberlin is doing the best they can with a shitty situation. They're taking the best precautions that they can and trying to make everything as safe as possible for students coming back. I know that they will handle everything the pandemic throws at them in the best possible way, and ensure students and faculty are as safe as they can be. If you are interested to know more about Oberlin's plan to handle COVID, there is a website you can visit, ObieSafe, which outlines every aspect of Oberlin's plan.
I am looking forward to being able to see my friends and take classes in person. I know that this semester will look different, and there will be a lot less social interactions than there normally would be, but if any community is going to get through this, the Oberlin community would be my best guess. Being able to see people I haven't seen in a while will do wonders for my depression. I understand it will mean a lot of time alone in my room, but being able to be around some of my best friends will surely be worth the wait. I cannot wait to see what this semester brings.