by Nicole Patano ’22
As this issue of The Cowl makes its way onto stands around campus, I will likely be checking into the Marriott—not to quarantine, and not even in Providence. Instead I will be on the other side of the country, 3,000 miles from Providence College, shirking my responsibilities as editor-in-chief, ignoring my coursework, and (hopefully) eating my weight in authentic Los Angeles street food.
I am not the type to take a spontaneous trip to California in the middle of the semester. At this time freshman year, leaving the library to take a spontaneous walk around campus was not a thought I would have entertained.
If you read my first editor’s column, you will remember the rude awakening I received on the first day of classes. No matter how hard I worked to make my first day as successful as possible, all of my plans went down the drain because of a faulty fire alarm. Since then, I have come to expect that my perfectly laid plans will be crumpled up, stomped on, and thrown away—in the best possible way.
It is impossible to plan your life around certainties because one day, you’ll get a random email from a filmmaker asking you to fly out to LA to be in a documentary. Well, maybe this exact scenario won’t happen to you, but you know what I mean.
If we have learned anything from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that you’d be lucky to just have a wrench thrown into your plans. Sometimes it felt like everything but the kitchen sink was stopping you from seeing friends or taking a trip. I still remember receiving the email from Dr. Stephen Lynch that the Liberal Arts Honors Program trip to Paris was canceled…less than one week before our scheduled departure and after I had already finished the one-credit course meant to prepare students for the trip.
Although I was sad I would not be able to walk through the streets of Paris, I appreciated being able to go home and, instead, take day trips to some of the most beautiful public libraries in Massachusetts. It wasn’t the same experience as sitting in the Bibliothèque Mazarine, but it was an experience nonetheless.
This mentality has been invaluable as I navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and life as a college student. It is not worth dwelling on missed opportunities or stressing over potential problems. If one door closes, open another one. If it’s locked and you can’t find the key, I hear a wrench works pretty well.