Mourning the experiences I won’t get to have

By Aly Cantor/El Inde

As graduation approaches, these are the last months of freedom; the ones we are going to look back on with some of the most amazing memories.

Like the times we stayed out at the bars until they kicked us out, skipped classes because we felt like it, ordered pizza for the third night in a row, stayed up late at night laughing at everything, and just enjoying time with the people who made your college experience. 

If somebody told you that the last three months of your senior year of college would be spent cooped up in your apartment, not allowed to go outside; if classes were only taught online and the graduation ceremony that highlighted all of your college accomplishments was canceled, would you believe them?

This pandemic has been slow and long. Hours feel like days, the months are never-ending and nothing’s for sure.

Each day, the news is flooded with coronavirus updates. It is hard to think of anything else or have normal conversations without it being brought up. It makes it hard to stop thinking about the memories I will not have. No last class, last Dirtbags vodka soda, last Bob Dobb’s karaoke night, last sporting event.

If I had known that college would end in March, I would have done so many things differently. I would have said yes more, I would have been more intentional with my days. I would do it all over again, just for one more memory of a normal college day. 

I went from my last college spring break spent with my friends in Miami to not being able to travel home to my family with the fear I would make them sick. I am not sure when it will be safe for me to take a six-hour flight — usually split into two with a layover — back home to Washington D.C. 

My apartment building is empty. Nobody is working at the front desk, five out of my six roommates have returned home with no plans to come back, there are no cars on the street, no stores open. Tucson feels like a ghost town and only continues to become eerier.

All of my accomplishments over the last four years feel wasted. I feel like I am not able to close a chapter of my life. I will never get to hear my name called to walk across the stage, I will never get to say a proper goodbye to all the friends I have made over the years, I won’t get to do senior week with my sorority sisters — a tradition like no other. 

I mourn the experiences that I will never get to have. 

My roommate and I have erased our senior year bucket list and made a new one: A coronavirus bucket list. These are small ideas that bring positivity into this hard time. So far, we have done DIY tie-dye, watched the sunset on the UA mall, hiked Seven Falls, binge-watched an entire show in one day, and pulled an all-nighter to watch the sunrise. We even tanned on the top of the Main Gate parking garage, since our rooftop at our apartment is closed. 

They’re all small tasks that keep our days moving, slowly. Each sunset brings a feeling of relief, that the day is over and we are one day closer to going back to normal — or however close-to-our-normal we can get. 

It seems selfish to complain about my senior year of college getting cut short when there are people fighting for their lives or working around-the-clock shifts in the hospital, but my experience feels unique and it is impacting me greatly. I try to keep my complaints to myself or with my friends who are also going through the same thing. I am not expecting my parents or people who are not seniors to understand. We are all going through this together, in our own ways, all over the world.

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