DUDLEY – The year 2020 was supposed to be a fresh start for most college students coming out of 2019 — the start of a new decade, a start of something new, a year full of accomplishments – including graduation, something college students look forward to since they stepped on campus their freshman year of 2016.
However, 2020 had different plans for college seniors, including students at Nichols College in Dudley.
The coronavirus has spread across the nation infecting more people each day. Coronavirus symptoms include a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Most colleges closed before and even after spring break, moving most of the learning online via Zoom.
Nichols College, a small college with a tight–knit community, was still debating if they should let students come back onto campus after the instructed extra two weeks off. Sadly, the heavy news for students came after along waited spring break.
“It was honestly a total shock to me. It is something that is extremely hard to describe because even though it has been over a week it is something that I am still processing,” said Kaitlyn Anthes, of Cumberland, RI, who’s earning her Master of Science in Accounting. “As other [colleges] started to shut down, we started to think it could happen to us, but we never were fully prepared for it to happen.”
“To put it bluntly the coronavirus has put a complete end to my last five weeks of college. It has changed the way I interact with people and how I am getting my education,” said senior Gretchen Carlson, a Hospitality and Human Resources major from Burrillville, RI.
They were no longer coming back to campus. Senior week was cancelled, and graduation was postponed.
“Finding out that our graduation is being postponed, is something that is hard to take as I worked so hard to finish two degrees in four years,” Anthes said.
Students were also told they can’t get the rest of their stuff until the middle of April. However, with these uncontrollable circumstances, Nichols has been doing its best to help students in this tough time.
“Nichols has put some great measures in place to help us. All the faculty members and professional staff members on campus have reached out to students to check in and make sure that we are okay during this crazy, unpredictable circumstance,” said Carlson.
Nobody predicted this to happen and this wasn’t how senior year was supposed to go. However, the 2020 class at Nichols and beyond are tougher than everyone thought.
“The class of 2020 is resilient. We will get through this even though times are tough. For us, we will now know how to embrace all the time we have and to not take any little thing for granted. We all thought we were embracing the time we had left- but if we had known our time would’ve been cut short, we would have done even more,” Carlson said.
Graduate and senior students may have gotten some aspects of the rest of their college career taken from them, but overall, it’s for the best interest of everyone. Some graduations will happen virtually, however Nichols College’s President Susan Engelkemeyer promised the class of 2020 a physical graduation later.
“I hope that once this is over, all classes after us can take advantage of any moment they have left on ‘The Hill.’ College is one of the best times you will have in your life- so take advantage of every moment of it. Take pictures, take videos, have fun, and create memories,” Carlson said.
Lead photo: Nichols College/Facebook