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Insight: Reflecting on the beginning of the end of my virtual senior year

'Our administrators are doing the best they can, but the reality is we as students — at least in my case — aren’t doing any better than we were last spring'

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"For some students the brain is switched off just as easily as their video on Zoom." Illustration published on Tuesday, January 19, 2021.


These last 10 months have been some of the most difficult ones of my life and I think that may be an understatement for other students.

I’ve been lucky enough not to experience a personal loss this year, but I know many of my peers haven’t been as fortunate. Add that on top of “Zoom University,” being stuck inside and countless other problems — I feel like I’m going crazy.

Seniors have a mere four months left as Sun Devils before we have to enter the real world, move away, say goodbye to our friends, uproot our lives and find adult jobs in the middle of a pandemic — as if the concept wasn’t difficult enough on its own.

And the worst part of this harrowing reality? Most of us have no idea where to start.

I may be missing out on life experiences like birthday parties and going out with friends, but I’m more concerned with trying to figure out how and when to apply to my first “big girl job” than going to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner.

READ MORE: Celebrating my birthday in quarantine

On top of that, online school is really not my vibe. Even before the pandemic, I was always on my computer, but working on your computer for eight hours every day is mind-numbing.

I’m the type of person who likes going to class and forming bonds with professors — sitting with them as they explain lesson topics, asking questions directly to their face. 

I miss how the Memorial Union’s Starbucks used to have a line out the door. I miss the Cronkite building bustling with student journalists who had one too many cups of coffee that day. I miss seeing my friends every day and having conversations that don’t start with, “So today on Zoom…” 

But most of all, I miss not feeling alone.

“We’re right there with you when it comes to in-person interaction,” said Linda Sullivan, associate director of academic services in ASU's English department. “I miss my students, even if I just see one of them in the hallway as they’re walking by my office on their way somewhere else. It’s difficult.”

I’ll be the first to say I love ASU. It’s my home away from home. But I was definitely looking forward to walking across that stage as my time came to an end, and celebrating these last four years of freedom before real life kicks me in the face. 

Our administrators are doing the best they can, but the reality is we as students — at least in my case — aren’t doing any better than we were last spring. We’re still lost and confused, some of us looking for much-needed guidance on what to do and where to go.

“I think everyone will do well to remember that we as a faculty are here for you as well,” Sullivan said. “Talk to your professors, an advisor or a counselor. We all want to know.”

Despite the negativity, I’m trying to remain positive and find the good in my current situation, as I know we all are. At least with the technology available I can see my friends on FaceTime, and I can go pick up my morning coffee to work outside throughout the day; and that will have to be enough, because I know that eventually we will get through this.


Reach the reporter at skenoun@asu.edu and follow @thesabrinakeno on Twitter. 

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