Everyone going into this past semester was confused and unsure of what campus life during a pandemic would look like. Would there be a safe way to socialize and be with friends? Would we still get the Bryn Mawr experience?
I definitely was not prepared for how much I would miss dorm living and the constant energy of campus. It felt strange commuting to Bryn Mawr for some of my classes, but not living and eating my meals on campus. With most of my classes online, I began to realize all the things I took for granted during pre-pandemic semesters.
I missed the dynamics of in-person classroom discussions and having tea with my professors during office hours. But French class at 8 AM this year was a little bit easier since I could just roll out of bed and log into class. I missed going into the bustling Campus Center for a late-night snack from Uncommon Grounds. But I loved all the picnics I was able to have with friends on Carpenter “Beach.” I missed having our annual Chuseok celebration with the Korean Student Association (KSA), but one of my favorite memories this semester was having our first KSA painting session at Taft Garden during sunset. My faith group really felt the absence of our members who were unable to return to campus, but our e-board had so much fun shipping out care packages to them over winter break. (So thankful that our packages to Taiwan and Korea arrived safely!)
I’m also grateful for the things that I didn’t have to miss. President Cassidy started off the school year with a mini-golf Presidential Pop-up on Merion Green. Just like every November, students waited outside Pem Arch to ride the Lantern Van to the polls. The pandemic and a dispersed student body couldn’t stop the incredible spirit of activism in Bryn Mawr students. The Strike Collective led demonstrations, teach-ins, and workshops to fight for a more just and racially inclusive Bryn Mawr.
While doing college during a pandemic came with its difficulties, I wanted to take time to highlight all these things, big and small, that brought me joy last semester. I know that I have so much I can look forward to for the upcoming spring term. Friends who I haven’t seen since last March are coming back to campus. The warm weather will allow for more outdoor activities. The cherry blossoms will bloom and the hammocks will return to line senior row.
I’m thankful for all the familiar activities that created a sense of normalcy. And I’m even more appreciative of all the new things and the creativity of this community in trying to emulate a pre-pandemic semester.