The Class of 2022: Reflections on Life after COVID

by Briana Baier, Elizabeth Ehrhardt, April Pivonka, Katie Lynch & Arianna Varano

Every year, as the temperature rises and the spring flowers come out, McNulty Scholars start to think about the end of the school year.  The summer.  The beach.  Outdoor festivals and barbecues.  And all those wonderful things that warmer weather brings.  This year, however, the Class of 2022 has something else on their minds.  What will life look like as we open back up from our COVID pandemic response?

Briana Baier (Computer Science): After COVID, I am most looking forward to having all of my activities and classes in person. I didn’t realize how Zoom-fatigued I was until a couple weeks into my second semester this year. I am very excited for both my academic and social activities to be back safely in person so I have new places to go and so I can spend more time outside of the same, day-to-day environment. I love walking to class and getting to hang out in different buildings around campus without there being limits on who can be there.  I am also excited for my track season to look a little more normal (hopefully) post-COVID.

April Pivonka (Biology): The current pandemic has affected almost all aspects of life. Although the initial transition to virtual learning, was challenging, I feel that I have been able to adjust to the online format. However, post-COVID, I am looking forward to returning to both the classroom and the research lab in which I will be able to continue my studies on emerging pathogens. In addition, I am excited to participate in shadowing and service activities in person. Lastly, it will be nice to reconnect with my fellow classmates.

Katie Lynch (Mathematics/Economics): While the phrase “post-pandemic” seems like a faraway dream, there is certainly a light at the end of the tunnel! COVID has changed life in so many ways, especially in regards to academics and social engagement. While nothing beats the convenience of rolling out of bed for a Zoom class, I am definitely looking forward to all in-person classes in the future. Because I live off-campus, I have limited engagement with campus and miss spending more time there, constantly running into friends and classmates. Also, one of the things I’ve missed the most during the pandemic is the ability to sit at a coffee shop with my friends and get schoolwork done. This sense of community in a comfortable setting is something that I long for, and that I cannot wait to have again “post-pandemic!”

Arianna Varano (Biology): I am so excited to attend all in-person classes post-COVID, so that I will be able to spend more time on campus. Although I have some in-person classes right now, I am looking forward to being able to go to campus every day. I can’t wait to visit more restaurants and attractions in Philly once they start to reopen and allow for greater occupancy. One of my favorite things about Philly is the surplus of restaurants and things to do around the city, so once I can engage in more of those activities safely, I definitely will! It will also be nice to volunteer in-person (instead of via an online platform) with some of my favorite clubs, like Project Sunshine.