The most memorable curation


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The most memorable curation

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The most memorable story that I have curated was an email by the president of Washington and Lee University. In the email, President William Dudley announced that the on-campus classes will be suspended for the rest of the semester and instructions will be shifted to an online model. Students affairs, competitions, performances, and graduation ceremonies had to be canceled to ensure students’ safety. Before the pandemic, he would watch students and faculties walking to classrooms as he walked to work every morning, he would pass by and see sports teams practicing in the field in the afternoon, and now everything was gone. For graduating seniors, he expressed his sorry for what they will miss. Although professors were trying their best to learn new technologies and most of the students' events will be online, nothing will be the same.
What aches me the most is a sentence from President Dudley’s email, “In June, a campus without students is peaceful. In March, it is eerie and sad.” I could not help but imagine what it is like at University of San Francisco. Is it like a ghost town? Every time I think about it, I regret that I did not look at it for the last time. I remember the last time when I was on campus, it was the day before spring break, and I walked out of theology class with my friend. We were discussing what we should do during the spring break. We had to cancel our plans to travel to Hawaii because of the pandemic. Although the U.S has not taken any precautions at that time, we learned from the news that there were several confirmed cases in travelers who have recently been to Hawaii. After debating and hesitating for days, eventually, we decided to cancel the trip although the flight tickets were non-refundable because we did not want to take the risk of exposing ourselves to the virus. Every Chinese student I knew made the same decision. What happened to our home country made us realize how harmful this virus could be. On the way walking out of the campus, I was texting and discussing should we stock some disinfectant and stay at home for the whole spring break with my friend, I could never imagine that it was the last time I walked on campus and saw USF. It hurts my heart when I try to remember what it was like to walk on campus, how the St. Ignatius Church would shine under the sunset; I hate myself for not looking at everything for the one last time because I was busy texting. Shortly, USF announced online classes for the rest of the semester and I returned to China within weeks. When the fall 2020 semester was announced to be online, I first made the decision to take a gap semester because I want to spend my last semester with friends, and most importantly, to celebrate the graduation ceremony with my friends and family on campus. However, with the U.S. government putting visa restrictions on Chinese and the conflict between the U.S and China getting more serious, I began to fear that if I do not complete my degree now, there could be a possibility that I never would. Yesterday, I finished my last class in college life and my virtual graduation ceremony is only days away. I envy those seniors who graduated before me, they had a chance to celebrate with families and friends, they had a chance to say goodbye to their college life; I envy those who will graduate in the following years, they will have the chance to celebrate their graduation ceremony on campus. Everything that has ever happened in the past months seems like a dream. Only if I know how to end this dream.

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This item was submitted on December 11, 2020 by Dongfang Chen using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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