As students heads into their last week of classes, most are probably still shocked that Villanovans have made it this far.

It feels like just yesterday when everyone was moving in and guessing when the first COVID-19 case would hit. It is crazy how fast this peculiar semester flew by, but it is even crazier how the University is still open and thriving, considering the spike in COVID-19 cases throughout the world. After three months back on campus, we made it through the semester. Yes, there were definitely some setbacks in the COVID-19 department, but, as a whole, the University did a successful job handling COVID-19.

With the semester coming to a close, it is only right to pose the question: What were some of the biggest takeaways from the semester?

Community First: After this unusual semester, it is very clear that Villanovans care about community above all. Coming into school this semester, all students signed the Caritas Commitment, stating they were willing to put community before themselves.

The fact that the school is still open and running proves that Villanovans were serious when they signed this. While looking across campus during a busy day, there was not be a person without a mask on.

Villanovans knew from the very beginning of the semester that being on campus was a luxury that hundreds of college students across the country did not have. Villanovans took this gift seriously and made mask-wearing and social distancing important parts of everyday life.

There are other ways to have fun: This semester’s social scene was unlike any before. Large gatherings were prohibited, and social distancing with masks was strictly enforced. Villanovans had to find new ways to entertain themselves. It is very difficult to work as hard as students do during the week and not have anything to look forward to on the weekend. The University made sure that this was not the case. While the weather was still warm, students took advantage of outdoor dining, portable chairs, hiking trails and beaches nearby. Villanovans found new ways to have fun and be creative.

As the weather started to get cooler, the University introduced Wonder-Fall Fest, a fun nighttime event with fire pits, food trucks, live music and games. The University made certain that students had the fun they needed, given these unique circumstances.

“We were forced to find creative ways to make the most of being on campus,” sophomore Sarah Houle said. “I also developed a new appreciation for being on campus when so many other schools didn’t have the privilege of having a semester in-person.”

Villanovans Adapt: This semester was its own breed. No one believed that it was possible for people to be on campus during a pandemic, but the University seemed to prove everyone wrong. Students gave up a semester of partying and large social gatherings to experience a semester on campus together as a community.

It was not easy, but students found new ways to have fun, be safe and learn. Obviously, there are extreme difficulties that came with the adjustments made during this semester, but Villanovans never gave up.

Despite the obstacles experienced this semester, students persevered and lasted three months on campus during a pandemic that is nowhere close to being over. Although we made it through this semester, the country and the world still have a long way to go. As we head into the winter months when social distancing becomes more difficult, everyone must remember that what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger. The Villanova community proved that this semester.