How Covid-19 Has Impacted My Senior Year as An International Student
Updated: Dec 2, 2020
By Paulina Diaz
As an international student, the U.S. is has become my second home.
My experience as a college student has been as normal as anyone would expect, except for my senior year. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit back in March, I watched seniors pack up their whole lives and go back home with nothing but an unfinished semester. I also watched my fellow international friends desperately book flights to go back home as we were getting kicked off-campus.
I booked my flight on the same day international students were given a final notice to leave campus. My friends left a week after. It was March 31st when I hopped on a plane to go back to my country, Mexico, with a mind full of uncertainty and distress. I had lost my job, my friends, and my plans.
The airport looked like a warzone. Empty hallways, closed restaurants, and extreme safety measures were all I could see on my way back.
During the summer of 2020, I did not know what to expect. I went home not knowing when I would be able to come back to the U.S. A couple of weeks of quarantine became a month, and a month became four. As a Mexican citizen, I watched my Spanish and Australian friends come out of quarantine way sooner than me, making me question if I should have left the U.S. in the first place.
The day finally came when I knew I was going to be able to come back. However, I came back to a completely different campus. Most classes were now online, the cafeteria only offered take-out options and all Fall sports had been postponed to the Spring. Now, athletes have to wear a mask to practice, and no more than six people are allowed in the weight room at once, something that completely changed team dynamics. Also, no visitation is allowed, and students are highly encouraged not to leave the county.
As an athlete, I am scared that the Spring season will get canceled, not allowing me to play in my senior year. As a student, I am scared that graduation will not happen, as occurred last year. There are still many questions surrounding this year.
Our school, however, has made an incredible effort to have all students make the most out of this very unpredictable year. The Bean Scene and the Student Union are still open, in case you want to spend some time with your friends and get out of your room. Stay vigilant for student activities and other events!