Navigating the Pandemic Throughout this Semester

Our community made it the whole semester without getting sent home.

We’re almost done, Villanova. We’ve almost completed this first semester on campus during a pandemic successfully. Key word: almost.

As I planned to write this article early last week, I thought about how great we’ve been doing collectively at keeping down the cases of COVID-19. I was going to discuss how we’ve been able to do the impossible: Stay on campus the entire semester without a huge spike in cases. Obviously, this all changed as we saw the dashboard numbers rise quickly.

Villanovans, I’ve seen us do so well this semester. We truly put our community first and agreed to The Caritas Commitment. Even if we joked about it, we used our portable chairs. We did everything we could, day in and day out, to ensure we wouldn’t ruin it for each other.

This is still the case for the majority of us. We’re continuing to do all that we can, but our end goal has shifted. We’ve now focused on finishing out the semester strong so we can get home to our families and reduce the spread to them. We’ve run the 26 miles of this marathon of a semester, and we can see the finish line. We’ve just got to finish out the 0.2 miles strong, masks and all. I know that we can do this. 

Although many are focusing on the spike in cases right now (and rightfully so), I hope that we are also able to give ourselves a pat on the back for how well we did this semester. We proved them wrong. We watched in our first few weeks on campus as we saw schools around the country, and even nearby, quickly switch to online classes or send students home completely. That drove us to take this pandemic seriously, and we have. For the majority of the semester, our cases stayed very low. 

People doubted us. They said we would never last on campus. My roommate, friends and peers were not optimistic that we would stay on campus. As the semester went on, we realized how we could make this work. It was as simple as putting a piece of cloth on our faces and making smart decisions.

As I finish my first college semester, it has become increasingly clear to me that Villanovans are different. Over the semester, I’ve thought about all of the other schools I applied to, and I am seeing them have to move online or get sent home. 

We stand out. We’ve been able to stay all semester. We care about each other’s well-being and have made small sacrifices all semester to ensure there is some sense of normalcy. We came together as a community and did what we needed to do for each other. That is one of the many reasons why I love it here and love this community.

Something I’ve found here at the University as a freshman is that we watch out for each other. We are constantly using the word “community” to describe it here, and it couldn’t be more fitting. Villanovans genuinely care for each other, promote positivity and embrace the unknown. We’ve seen the cases spike before, at the end of September, but we got through that together. Together ,we will prevail to the end of this semester.

In short, I know we can do this. I know that we have the ability to recommit for this last week and keep each other safe. It doesn’t take much. Continue being smart, and we can do this. Mask up and be safe.