(Photo courtesy of UMass Lowell) “UMass Lowell campus was shut down for a year and a half due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
I remember it like it was yesterday. March 13th, 2020, otherwise known as The Day The World Stood Still. The day schools announced closures left, right, and center. At that point, no one knew what was going to happen, nor did we know when things would start looking normal again. 2020-2021 became The Zoom Year, where we all had to endure our courses from our computers, where everything seemed dire and unforgiving given the circumstance and difficulty level of online schooling. Last year, however, things changed. We were able to return to school for the very first time in what seemed like an eternity, only with masks on at all times. Two years on now, and it still feels so surreal.
Now that we are back in school for the second year in a row, the sense of normalcy has returned to consume us all. While some people choose to wear a mask (and that is completely fine), the majority have seemed to have done away with them, turning off that dark chapter in the lives of many. Since the mask mandate’s disbandment in February of this year, I, along with many of our great community, ditched the masks and began to show off our faces and smiles with our fellow peers and professors alike.
It feels great to be back in the classroom and pro-actively learning with other people, rather than toiling away on Zoom, barely paying attention, and in some cases like myself, falling asleep and not caring about the work. It felt unmotivating to do anything when we were all forced to be at home; But now it feels as if a fresh aurora has been bestowed on the UMass Lowell populous and a reviving wave of energy has swept the area.Suddenly, everybody was meeting new people, albeit with hesitation at first because there were still virus concerns, but now, the confidence has re-risen to possibly pre-COVID levels, and a lot more friends are being made. I experienced this post-transfer last spring, and I could not be any happier here.
To be a student here and be able to learn from a classroom two years after the biggest health disaster since the Spanish Influenza is definitely a privilege and an honor. It means that we, as a human race, have been reborn and felt a renaissance of socialization with one another. We, as students, can be more confident in our education again; and with it, a renewed want and desire to learn and achieve amazing things. It is better to work with groups of our peers rather than to be separate, trying to piece together a difficult assignment alone. With each passing day that we are members of this UMass Lowell community, with it comes a new sense of pride and privilege, as essentially, we have been granted a new chance to be free of any barriers and obstacles again. We are free to pursue the dreams we endear the most, and with it, a whole new on-campus perspective.