On that fateful Monday morning at 11:45 am, the main cause of my stress and anxiety was the statistics quiz that my professor was about to hand out momentarily. As I was reviewing my notes, I was trying to block out any noise or conversations my friends were having behind me, but the whispers and murmurs were becoming too loud to ignore.
I turn around and a student in the back says, “Did you get the email?”
“What email?” said another.
“Fordham just canceled classes for the rest of the week and until March 28”
“It says a student might be positive for COVID-19”
“Woohoo, longer spring break!”
Too much was going on for me to process what was happening. My stress for my statistics quiz flew out the window and the cause was replaced by something much scarier and chaotic. I immediately wanted to leave the classroom and call my family. I was in New York and they were in Massachusetts, what was I going to do? My thoughts were fighting each other, one contradicting the other, some building on top of others, and all together, they were one big, tangled mess.
As my anxiety began to build, my professor tried to settle the class down, “Okay, okay, I know this is big news and you all want to get out, but you still have to take this quiz,”
I was not in the right mindset to take this quiz, but I knew the faster I took it, the faster I could call my parents. To be honest, I do not remember taking it due to the out of body experience I was currently having. The moment I handed in the quiz, I sprinted out of the building and re-read the email saying, “In-person classes will be suspended until March 28, please make plans to leave campus as soon as possible”. Reading the words as soon as possible sent a surge of panic throughout my body
I immediately called my dad, trying to stay calm, even though I was on the verge of tears from the shock of my sudden reality change. After that call, my dad and older sister left the house 15 minutes later to pick me up in the Bronx. I rushed to room 223, my corner room in Alumni Court South, the place that I called “home” during my freshman year. My roommate was already there just standing in shock, trying to fathom what to do and not even a minute later our neighbors and best friends barged in crying and in panic.
Clothes, luggages, bags, makeup, skincare products, textbooks, and notebooks began to cover our floors and beds. We all had a feeling that this two week break was going to be much longer than we would like. I packed as much as I could and once the chaos began to settle down, we reconvened and already began to talk as if this was the last time we were going to be together. And thank god we did. We reminisced, we whined, and we expressed an immense of love and gratitude to each other.
Rather than wallowing in our sorrows, we decided to spend the last few hours ending our freshman year on the highest note we could. First stop was Chipotle, because in all the craziness we did not realize how hungry we were. My friends and I wanted to eat outside since we have not had the chance in the previous months. Even though this was a very sad day, the weather did not reflect that. It was 75 degrees, sunny, and the perfect day to lay out on Eddie’s, the massive lawn in front of the grand Keating Hall. We decided to eat our bowls and burritos there and we were not the only one with that idea. The lawn was covered with huge groups of students all laying out, playing frisbee, drinking whatever they had left in their rooms, and dancing, trying to enjoy Fordham at its best.
Seeing everyone outside, making the best out of a horrible situation lifted my spirits. My friends and I concluded our time together by celebrating on a rooftop with the best view of my favorite city.
Those two hours felt like two minutes and soon enough, I was in the backseat of my car alongside all the stuff I tried to pack up, leaving my school, my friends, and my city behind. I did not realize how many lasts I just had and how it was basically the end of my first year of college. The weekend before was the last time I would go out with my friends as a freshman, the night before was last time I would ever sleep in my dorm, the morning of was the last time I would say good morning to my roommate and neighbors, the statistics class was the last in-person class I would have, and minutes before was the last time I would see my friends for ages.
For the remainder of freshman year, I along with millions of other college students, took their classes via Zoom and online learning. I was sad, angry, frustrated and unmotivated. I kept imagining what I would have been doing if I was back at school and even though I knew it was unhealthy to do that, I still did. My friends were the same way, we constantly texted about what would have been and of course the never-ending stream of “i miss yous” (which still has not stopped). I ended my first year of college sitting on my bed, in my room back in Norwell, MA.
Although this was not the ending I would have imagined, I am so lucky. I could have been a high school senior, a college senior, someone who lost their job or even worse, a COVID-19 victim. I am so grateful my family and friends have not been affected, and my situation could be much worse.
COVID-19 is an extremely serious and deadly virus and I was never upset that we had to be sent home. I understand it was for everyone’s safety and it had to be done, which it makes even more frustrating. All anyone wants is someone or something to blame, but in this case there is no one. We have no idea where to place our anger and how to cope with this situation because all we want is our lives back and the time we lost. I look back on the adventures I had in New York City and what has ensued there over the recent months leaves me heartbroken.
As of right now, Fordham has decided we can go back in the fall if New York still has relatively low cases by the time we return. Although I am skeptical about going back since many other schools are sticking with online classes in the fall semester, I am grateful Fordham is staying optimistic. I hope I will not go through the same experience that I did when I first found out we were being sent home, but if the second wave comes stronger than the first wave, I think that fateful day will have a sequel. I plan to go back in the fall and I am praying it will all run smoothly.
The world will never go back to the way it was before this pandemic and when I go back to college, it will not be the same either. Even though my year was cut short, I will continue to look back on the memories I have made freshman year with fondness and I will continue to have hope for the future.
Other Student Narratives from the Team at Relay:
- A Wild Freshman Year in College
- How COVID-19 Affected My Junior Year in College
- Transferring and Dealing with COVID-19
- Thoughts on Heading into Junior Year of High School
- Treasuring the Moments, Losing Senior Year & Looking Forward