Student Response to COVID-19 Changing Their Semesters

The Daily Star

Daniella Fishman, Staff Writer |

As the sudden onset of rapid semester changes comes barreling toward SUNY Oneonta’s student body, many, if not all, of those affected are experiencing a slew of emotions. From the stress of newly formatted online classes to the sadness of the semester “ending,” the State Times offered students an outlet to express their emotions during this trying time. We understand the frustration of those affected by this awkward and sudden transition, and we feel deeply for those who intended to walk at graduation in May but are now unable to. As of March 18, commencement has been postponed until Fall 2020, leaving many seniors heartbroken.

Allison Hannigan, a current SUNY Oneonta senior, shared her thoughts on the issue. “If you had told me two weeks ago that I would be leaving my college for spring break and not be able to permanently return after, I would have thought you were crazy.”

Hannigan went on to explain, “If this had been my freshman or even sophomore year of college, I would have been excited to move back home and finish out the semester online. But this isn’t my freshman or sophomore year…This is my senior year. My final semester of senior year. My final weeks at SUNY Oneonta. What is supposed to be one of the most exciting times, has quickly turned into the complete opposite.”

Hannigan also expressed her sadness toward commencement ceremony being postponed, however, she acknowledges that this situation is “unprecedented” and the college has done everything in consideration of our well-being. “This will be weird. It will not be normal by any means. But through it all, I will be grateful for the roof over my head, access to food, and the health of my family.”

The State Times’ Managing Editor, Angelina Beltrani, also expressed her sadness stating, “As a senior, I am also very emotional about this sudden end to my time at SUNY Oneonta. I haven’t processed the emotional weight of it all yet, but I know there is so much I won’t be able to do, and this is not time I can get back. I had so many plans like going with our campus radio station to Washington D.C. on one more trip, St. Oney’s, O Fest, walking through the pillars, and commencement. I am glad and appreciative SUNY Oneonta is giving us a commencement in the Fall because I do not think that is the case for graduating seniors everywhere. But I still can’t believe we all went on spring break and essentially are never going back— not as students. We’ll come back as alumni, but never students…. Instead, we have been hurdled headfirst into our futures, which have no shape, and it is hard to mold one out in this dwindling economy. Will there be jobs to have when this is all over? The uncertainty is relentless.”

Emily Whitaker addressed the pain she’s experiencing in the face of leaving Oneonta prematurely in her statement to the State Times: “Amid this horrific pandemic, our feelings and losses might be pushed aside. You will probably be told, “It could be a lot worse.” Of course, it could be much worse. But this does not mean that our situation should be ignored. SUNY Oneonta has been our life for the past four years, working every minute towards graduation. We left for spring break with great plans for our last weeks. All of a sudden, these were all taken away… My heart hurts thinking about moving out of my dorm next week. I simply don’t know how I am going to do it.”

However, Whitaker sends a message of hope and positivity through this uncertain time explaining, “I understand the need for social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Still, I just want the Class of 2020 to be recognized as we deserve. It is ok to be devastated and angry with the situation, as our whole life for the next two months has changed. You may be back at home with family or in a different living arrangement, and that is not an easy adjustment. We have been forced to finish out our last semester at home, away from our friends and everything that made our time at Oneonta worthwhile. We are in this together, Oneonta. We will get our deserved celebration and proper goodbyes as we all move into a new chapter in our lives.” She reminds underclassmen to not take for granted their time left in Oneonta. Though we all complain about dorm rooms and dining halls, we will all miss it in the end.

To our seniors, we are sorry for how the end of your college career has turned out and wish nothing but the best for you and all your future endeavors. As for everyone else, we cannot wait to see your bright, healthy faces back on campus as soon as possible. Remember: this will not last forever, so hang in there.

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