End of Freshman Year

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End of Freshman Year

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My photo is my farewell picture to my dorm room on the day I had to move out of it due to COVID-19. My freshman year of college was an amazing experience where I began to truly understand the person I was: a lover of politics, reading, and going out with friends. Once I finished my last midterm, I packed a few items to take back home for spring break, not once thinking I had spent my last night in my dorm. Spring break rolled along and we received the fateful email: classes would be held online. At this point, COVID-19 numbers began to drastically rise around the country and the world. The life we once knew had drastically changed. Daily occurrences were no longer permitted: concerts, sporting events, and breathing without a mask over one’s mouth and nose.
As I made my way back to my dorm at Arizona State University, I felt a longing for the life we once lived. The life we had no idea would cease to exist. I opened the door to my dorm and the familiar scent of rose diffuser instantly brought back the hundreds of memories that college had gifted me. This was the room where I first felt independent, where I spent long nights studying and staying up late with friends. This was the room where I met my roommate, who is now my best friend. I had intended to come back to my new home, ready to continue the adventures that had excited me in the first three-fourths of the school year. However, COVID-19 changed everything. I packed up what was left and asked my dad to take a picture of me one last time.
Now, my college experience is limited to a laptop screen back at my parents place. All extracurriculars have ceased. We communicate with our teachers and classmates through zoom. The pandemic has halted physical human interaction. Hopefully we are one day able to freely breathe without the fear of infecting each other.

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This item was submitted on October 8, 2020 by Ilse Rodriguez using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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