The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Class of 2021 mourns a lackluster end to college career

3 min read

Senior stress is being followed by a scarce job market. | Luis Villasmil, Unsplash

By ERIN LUNDY

Staff Writer

From in-person classes to online, partying to social distancing, and no mask to, you guessed it, a mask, graduating seniors reflect on their college years and look ahead to their last semester at UMW.

Back in the fall of 2017, UMW’s freshman class was looking forward to their four years of life in college, never imagining that their lives would revolve around Zoom and social distancing.  

“It’s been sad,” said senior business administration major Danielle Thompson. “A major part of college is the social part and that just doesn’t exist right now.”

As classes at UMW begin another semester of hybrid learning, graduating seniors reflect on the impact of not seeing their classmates on campus and socializing with their friends in person. 

“I’ve had more time for studying which is nice,” said senior psychology major Alex Sharpe. “But I’ve also missed out on a lot of socializing and bonding compared to previous years which helped me with the stress of classes.”

The special part about college life was seeing your friends every day and socializing. However, as a result of the new COVID guidelines to ensure the health and safety of students, graduating seniors look back on the disadvantages of social distancing and isolation.

“It’s been a downer,” said senior math major Matt Scott. “I’ve been lonely, and I miss going to class and seeing so many people every day. Now, most of the time, the only person I see on a daily basis is my roommate.”

One of the many things about UMW that attracts students was the beauty of campus walk and how it used to reflect a sense of community that made the school stand out from the rest.

“It’s definitely a huge difference, especially when the weather is nice,” said senior biology major Mia Alessi. “I enjoy being outside and seeing a lot of people out on campus walk and what not. It is really nice to feel that community and it’s definitely gone at this point.” 

Though the importance of following UMW’s COVID guidelines provides a safe environment for students, the regulations have had a large impact on one of UMW’s biggest attractions: Campus Walk.

In previous years, there have been 150 clubs and organizations at UMW where students have been able to become active members. However, now due to the need to social distance and limit groups to no larger than 10 people, many of these clubs and organizations have completely changed.

Alessi is also a member of the Women’s club soccer team. “We have to play in two ‘pods’ of 10, so only 20 players can practice at once,” said Alessi. “For the most part, we are limited on what we can do at practice and we can’t play other schools or scrimmage the boys team.”

Another regulation for club sports is that masks are required to be worn at practices at all times.

“[Basketball is] going to look different,” said senior communication major Zane Burk. “Practices will require social distancing and masks, both of which obviously aren’t normal for the game of basketball. We also won’t be able to compete in any games or tournaments, which is tough, but it’s part of recovering from COVID.” Burk is also Club Basketball’s President.

Seniors interviewed were particularly concerned about the job market. As a result of the COVID pandemic, seniors have complained that it has been difficult trying to find a job.

“The job market is terrible,” said Thompson. “Not many places are hiring and it’s stressful because everyone’s competing for the few that are available.”

As the pandemic put a lot of people out of work, seniors have also complained that they are competing with many unemployed people on the job market.

“It has been tough,” said senior conservation biology major Mary Musgrove. “The job market is scarce, especially since I want to work with animals. So, even though my dream is to work in a zoo, the job market has forced me to work elsewhere.”

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