When I first got the email that Columbia was officially closing down its campus for the rest of the semester, I cried for a week. I’m a senior, and my last semester was supposed to be memorable. I guess in a way, it still is — but not in the way that any of us expected. I thought we would be returning from our break. I didn’t think to say goodbye, because I never thought that my last class, or my last interaction, would actually be my last. With one email, my life, along with all of my friends’ lives, had been uprooted. I’d have to leave my friends, my coworkers, the teachers that I have spent the past two years building relationships with, my home. I never thought my college career would end like this. And losing commencement might have been the biggest blow. Like many, I’m the first in my family to go to college and for the past four years of my life, each and every move I’ve made was working toward commencement. Walking across the stage was important to me, and I know that I’m not the only one.
If there’s one thing that I’ve realized throughout all of this, it’s that we’re all in this together — you know, like the High School Musical song? They weren’t lying. One of the things that I grew to love most about Columbia is the strong sense of community we hold, and that rings true now more than ever. With everything that our world has been facing, and continues to grapple with daily, life has become scary, confusing, and completely out of our control. But the one thing that we can hold onto is that we are not alone in this. Whether we realize it or not, we are all currently facing the same situation — which means that we are together in our fears, worries, and concerns. I strongly encourage that we keep this conversation going and take advantage of the community we have. Reach out to your teachers, your faculty, your peers, and make sure to take care of yourself in these times.
Don’t forget to check you email! We’ll see you soon.
-Alison, Class of 2020