by Kate Ward ’23
I wrote to you last year and told you everything that had happened so far in your freshman year at Providence College; however, I didn’t tell you how it ended because no one saw it coming. In March, we were sent home for spring break. COVID-19 was looming but no one thought it would hit nearly as hard as it did. Our break got extended to April, but then school shut down and classes swiftly switched to online. An abrupt end to such an electric first year; emotions ran high and a lot of the time you searched for answers no one had. You will make it through. Sure, there will be a lot of headaches and tears shed, but in the end, you do make it through the minefield. Grocery stores ran out of food and often you were eating whatever was available, city people flocked to the island and, soon, your normally quiet neighborhood was a small city of its own. In the midst of all this chaos, you and your family grew closer to your next door neighbors and their kids. Each evening at around five, the kids would come out and play in the backyard, you and Mom would sit on the back porch and listen to the pattering of feet and the screams of childhood happening just beyond the hedge. There are a lot of Zoom happy hours and awkward silences when someone asks what you’ve been up to because the answer is always, “class online and staying inside, just like you.” Soon, the happy hours fizzle out as you and everyone else accept the new reality of Governor Cuomo’s daily brief: wearing face masks, social distancing, and living in “unprecedented times.”
Over the summer you work at a horse camp. Spoiler alert: it’s awful. The summer never truly began as you were kept inside since March, so it all feels the same, like you’re stuck in an endless time loop. One good thing is you take up painting and it helps keep you grounded and feeling okay. You also make some new work friends and end up writing a lot of letters to your friend in the United States Marine Corps boot camp. You end up taking astronomy online to finally get your physics credit and, turns out, it’s really fun and your professor is awesome. Summer comes to a close and you pack all your stuff for your sophomore year at PC. You’re living in suites this year and all your roommates seem great.
Masks are mandatory and so is social distancing, but the majority of your classes are in-person, which is definitely a benefit, and it eliminates the learning curve of having to be on Zoom. Of course, as the weeks begin to pass, people begin to be more bold with their actions and throw caution to the wind. Oh, and that study abroad trip you were looking forward to in the spring—that got canceled. In the past week things have gotten really bad: off-campus housing has been placed in quarantine, cases have skyrocketed, and classes have moved online. I have to cut this letter short because I have to go do my Civ reading, good luck with that by the way.