Summer in November: How Global Warming is Affecting Our Planet

by Jezel Tracey '24
Opinion Staff


Opinion


Photo courtesy of Rawpixel

A regular day of fall on a college campus looks like girls wearing Uggs and guys wearing the same sneakers as they did in the summer. However, this year, fall in Friartown is a bit different. One day, winter is approaching. Next, winter takes a pause and the sunshine is almost 40 degrees warmer than it was before. As animals begin to prepare for hibernation, emotions prepare for seasonal depression, and the leaves prepare to fall, the weather is saying something different. Although most do not pray for the cold, when it hits almost 80 degrees in November, the prayer becomes for the world more than it is for themselves. When a friend gets sick around this time, their response is “it’s because the seasons are changing.” However, this has been the response for most people for the past three months. Whether it’s cold when it’s supposed to be hot, or hot when it is supposed to be cold, the Earth is undergoing an inevitable change: global warming.

Global warming is exactly what it sounds like. When the earth is affected by global warming, it experiences abnormal shifts in weather. However, the problem of global warming is deeper than the decision fatigue that one might experience as a result of not knowing what outfit to put on. Rather, these shifts in weather increase temperatures that can be uncomfortable and damaging in a month like November. Hurricanes, storms, great bodies of water drying out, and wildfires are evident in today’s most recent disasters.

What seemed like an increase in temperature or a nice day of summer meant death, calamity, and catastrophe for the animals around us. When the Earth is warm during times that it is not supposed to be, the ecosystem reflects just that, and the environment as well as society is negatively impacted by it.

Every year, the temperature of the earth increases. Global warming is not news. However, seeing its effects in daily life makes it feel more real or present. It should not be viewed from a superficial level, but rather from a more serious perspective. While it is affecting your choice of outfit, ultimately it has very damaging and catastrophic effects on the future of the earth.

Generation Z has never been the one to take things seriously. In today’s society, the primary source of news comes from social media. While it does play an impactful role in informing the world about what is going on, what often cycles through the feeds and timelines is not an awareness of a given situation. Instead, more memes are being reshared about children never being able to grow up because of the decreased fate of the world and Thanksgiving becoming a cookout. Oftentimes jokes like these are used as coping mechanisms to distract society from the threat global warming has on humanity’s existence.

It is important to look at global warming as not only an environmental issue. Rather, many societal factors need to be considered as well. Oftentimes when individuals have conversations about global warming, they look at what is being affected more than who is being affected.

There are a plethora of communities that don’t have the privilege of turning on the air conditioning when it reaches 80 degrees in November. Specifically, low-income and impoverished communities are susceptible to becoming a victim of natural disasters due to a lack of the proper financial resources to combat them. While the victims of tragedies are taken into account, the reasons why they become victims are not.

While climate change does affect the fate of the Earth’s existence, this does not mean there are no solutions to the issue. Some things one can do to help prevent or slow down the process of global warming are switching to a plant-based diet, recycling, and walking more than driving.

Conversations about global warming are bigger than Twitter and Instagram memes about the world ending. To understand and be proactive in change, it is important to look at the causes, effects, and impacts of environmental issues.

What Belonging on a Predominately White Campus Means: Recapping Friars of Color Homecoming Weekend

by Jezel Tracey '24
Opinion Staff


Campus


Providence College’s 2022 Homecoming Weekend did more than add another year of celebration. It was also a mark of the first “Friars of Color” Homecoming event and, as head coordinator of the program Stephanie Mireku puts it,  “just the beginning of engagement opportunities” like it. Oftentimes, the histories of Black students at PWIs are left untraced. This has a simultaneous effect on both the students’ sense of belonging and understanding of their history at the college.  

Fortunately enough, Friars of Color served as a foundational resource of reinstating that history by connecting Providence College alumni and undergraduate students of color. This event was pivotal to the college’s history of DEI initiatives, as it utilized the experiences of past and present students of color as a guide to building social capital in places where resources are limited for them. One student attendee, Spencer Johnson ’24, reflects,“I think it was nice to see the alum and connect with alumni of color on a similar experience of navigating both personal and professional identity on a PWI.” 

People of color already live in a world where opportunities and spaces are not catered to them. While students of color are blessed with the privilege of studying on a college campus, there are many other privileges that they are still deprived of. Oftentimes, professional opportunities are discovered and accessed through networking. On a campus that is predominantly white, it may be harder for students of color to do so. However, Friars of Color offered just that as it showcased the success, lessons, and experiences of PC alumni.

As Stephanie Mireku, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations, reflects on the impact of this foundational event, she describes relationships within communities of color as “the core of and serves as the foundation for the success of initiatives, programs, and as a result true impact and progress.” Following this, she remarks “Institutional change happens over time but so does the building of relationships.” 

Despite the success of this event in contributing to a sense of belonging for current students and alumni of color, there are still a plethora of ambiguities concerning what a sense of belonging means for students of color on a predominantly white campus.  

When interviewing past and current students of color about whether they view the College as a place of study or a home, they all gave a similar response. Yolanda Lewis ’24 reflects on her sense of belonging and the history of students of color as “just an afterthought.” Similarly, Johnson says, “some of the issues of being a POC at a PWI are so embedded into the culture that even seeing them made me feel so different.” However, when thinking about survivability and progress for POC, this mindset keeps one from basking in the disadvantages that they are inevitably going to endure.  

This suggests that, as a student of color, the conversation is not about whether campus can feel like home or just a place of study. Rather, the experience is about surviving a predominately white campus personally, academically, and most certainly professionally. Even after graduation, the feeling of disassociation still exists in students of color who attended predominantly white institutions. PC alum Phionna-Cayola Claude ’18 and ’21G expresses that “one of the most heart-wrenching realities as an alum of color at a PWI is the hollow sense of school pride that carries over into our post-grad lives.”  

Although the focus is on navigating a predominantly white campus as a person of color, it is important to understand that this is often the reality in most professional spaces. Yolanda Lewis ’24 expresses that her white counterparts “have everything, but that is just the reality of it.” She then follows this statement with, “but where is dwelling on that going to get me?” Interestingly similar, PC alum of color Meeckral Searight ’93 remarks, “there will always be a white racist person. If you can navigate this place, there is no place you can’t go.” 

What was most fascinating about the similarities between undergraduate students and alumni of color was the fact that their responses were never expressed with a sorrowful tone. Rather, they described these experiences as a way of life, something that pushed them, something that has been deeply tied into the untraced history of students of color on a predominantly white campus.  

What feels like a norm is only a disadvantage. However, in order to defy those forces of disadvantage, students of color must ensure that they make use of every opportunity accessible to them. In other words, this means one must accept reality and search for opportunity. 

It is important that the College continues to host events like Friars of Color as they will create opportunities for institutional change and the development of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.  

Fighting The College Cold

by Jezel Tracey '24
Opinion Staff


Campus


Whether one is sitting in a Civ lecture, studying in the library, or using the bathroom, there is a consistent sound that floods the room. Is it the sound of people talking? Sometimes. But nine times out of 10, that sound is a cough. Whether it be an unwelcome break during the silence or a cacophony of students coughing, the college cold permeates through the air.  

Every year, as the weather transforms from outside darty temperatures  to indoor narty conditions, almost every PC student and staff member gets overtaken by a cold. A couple years ago, everyone assumed that it was an outbreak of COVID-19. Now that most students are vaccinated, it seems that there is something else traveling in the air.  

The college cold, or as Sophia Gaines ’24 puts it, “the CC,” seems to be an annual event at PC. However, this is not any ordinary common cold. For some it lasts a few days, for most it lasts weeks…or at least that is what should happen. Oftentimes, what appears to be someone fighting the college cold sounds more like someone fighting demons. 

Unfortunately, you cannot run from this cold, and you certainly cannot hide from it. Whether it be a prayer, an extra 30 seconds of washing your hands, or increasing your intake of multivitamins, it is strongly advised that you do all that can be done to protect yourself from this college cold.  



Why Does Providence Keep Flooding?

by Jezel Tracey '24
Opinion Staff


Opinion


On Monday, September 5, what was expected to be a holiday break full of darties and naps rapidly turned into a modern Noah’s Ark. On Labor Day weekend, heavy rainfall surged into the streets of Providence and nearby communities. With every rain storm, Providence seems to flood. Wet roads and sidewalk puddles have become part of Providence’s charm, but a solution exists. Ultimately, outdated infrastructure combined with the impacts of climate change have left the Ocean State willfully unprepared for major rain events. 

While it seemed to be a normal rainy day, Providence’s drainage system failed to perform . This may be a surprise for some, but last month there was also a flash flood that overwhelmed the streets of Providence. So, whenever it rains excessively, it is no surprise that Providence and its nearby communities are inclined to flood. 

This heavy rainfall did not only wreak havoc on the streets of Providence but also affected PC campus life. Due to such long-lasting rain, instead of seeing groups of people traveling down to Eaton street for darties, students used the holiday as an opportunity to catch up on work. 

From the perspective of inside campus, it looked like a rainy day at PC. However, just a few miles away roads were closed, highways were flooded, buildings were damaged, and daily life was chaotic.  

Unfortunately, this was the same day that BOP had traveled to Newport. Interestingly, PC student Natalia Alzate ’24 says, “It was drizzling when we were in Newport so we never expected it to be so bad when traveling back to campus. A trip that was supposed to be 45 minutes took us three hours.” 

While it was just another rainy day at PC, it felt like a hurricane in the city of Providence and its nearby communities. This calls into question the quality of the city’s drainage system and procedures.  

Given that there was a flash flood not too long ago last month, it seems to be that what happened on Labor Day was of no shock to the residents of Providence – which means that the drainage issue was brought to attention, but not resolved. Myles Johnson ’24 remarked, “You never realize how bad a problem is until you have to fix it. The rain that fell should not have caused flooding. Hurricane Sandy and other casualties have passed and did not cause the I-95 to flood the way it did.” 

Why has this issue been unaddressed? Why are we continuing to ignore climate change?

While it is common to view flooding as something inevitable, there are a lot of factors that play a part in this catastrophe. One of the most imperative factors leading to this unfortunate event is the oversight by the city’s officials. Providence can no longer put infrastructure investments off to the side. There are grave issues that lie underneath the flooded walkways. 

Living With Strangers Again: Moving Back on Campus

by Jezel Tracey '24
Opinion Staff


Campus


Summer has ended and school has begun, which means one must take life seriously and get used to living with strangers again. Going from living with only your immediate family to people you don’t know is not always an easy transition.  

Sometimes, it is an opportunity for you to create a new version of yourself that you want people to meet. Other times, it is a challenge for you to adjust to living with someone that you have never interacted with. Whether it be your first or last year, walking around every day and seeing new faces always takes some time getting used to.  

 Living on a college campus also helps one to realize how many different ways people grow up. From variations in routines to differences in food preferences, everyone comes from unique backgrounds.  

 At times, transitioning back to living on campus with other people can feel very uncomfortable and alienating. Especially when beginning one’s freshman year with no friends while adjusting to college life, living on campus can feel very overwhelming and isolating.  

 From the awkward silences to the annoying small talks, coming back to campus will take some time to get used to. 

Moving back on campus means remembering the place you live is the same place you study and work. The thought of that, plus having the responsibility of figuring your life out, can feel very emotionally and mentally draining.  

However: you are not alone in feeling this way. It is important to acknowledge that being in a new or familiar space with new people will never feel comfortable. Once it is realized that most people on campus are experiencing this feeling, it is easier to feel at home in this new environment. When walking past crowds of people and feelings of insecurity arise, try to remember how the same people you might think are having the time of their lives, may be experiencing the same exact feelings as you.  

Whenever feelings of discomfort and uncertainty arise, do not ignore them. Instead, become aware of them and do something to change them. “Getting out there” does not always equate to going to a party. Whether it be signing up for a new club, attending campus events, or randomly talking and getting to know someone in your residence hall or outside of your class, there is no doubt that you will start to feel more comfortable and acclimated to “living with strangers.” 

If you are not up to date with campus events, the Morning Mail sent to your school email will have most, if not all, the information you need. Do not be afraid to talk to someone you are not friends with. After all, how would you be able to make friends without first talking to someone you don’t know? Of course, it might not be something you enjoy doing, but eventually it will all be worth it.

Tangents and Tirades

by Jezel Tracey '24
Opinion Staff


Opinion


Turn off the Lights

By Kaelin Ferland ’23

It seems like I am constantly reminding my roommates to turn off the lights. I probably get on their nerves, but it’s one of the easiest things that we can do to help the environment, as 19 percent of energy consumed globally is used for lighting. Many people know that turning off the lights is better for the planet; however, they do not know why this is the case. Around the world, fossil fuels are still the primary source used to generate electricity. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2020, 4.01 trillion kilowatt-hours of energy were used in the U.S. alone, releasing 1.71 billion tons of carbon dioxide. Only 62 percent of this electricity was generated from fossil fuels including coal, petroleum, and natural gas. It is also estimated that 714 pounds of coal are used to power a standard 100-watt light bulb for one year. By unnecessarily leaving on the lights, we not only support the fossil fuel industry but encourage a cycle of environmental destruction, especially in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. 

For us PC students to say that we do not need to turn off the lights on campus because we do not pay for electricity is irresponsible and ignorant. We might not directly pay the electricity bills at PC; however, if we continue to have this careless mindset, the environmental costs will be much greater.

Obstructions Versus Solutions:  Addressing the Unanswered Questions of Campus Parking

By Jezel Tracey ’24

 It seems as though every new semester comes with a cycle of parking complications and frustrations. Limited parking on campus has always been an issue at Providence College, and it feels like the problem will never end.

Student frustrations are fueled not only by the lack of solutions to these problems, but also the creation of obstructions that only make these problems worse. The newest problem with parking is not a limitation on space, but rather that spaces are being removed. As the College has decided to replace the parking lot by Glay Field with a new dormitory building, students are left with even more questions concerning the campus’s severe lack of parking. 

While there is a clear need for more parking spaces on campus, it does not seem that there have been any visible efforts to find solutions to help students who need parking. Whether it is having to park across campus in the only available lot or receiving an innumerable amount of tickets, it does not seem as though there are any solutions to solve these problems.

 Even though it appears as though the College intends to solve problems in regard to the expansion of the campus, this solution only creates more problems. There is no way to satisfy everyone, but they could at least offer solutions. 

While our campus expands, it is a red flag when the already limited space that we have is reduced.

@pcfriarlife Has No Real Grasp of a PC Friar’s Life

Olivia Bretzman ’22

Early last week, the Instagram account @pcfriarlife, an official Providence College social media account, posted multiple, poorly shot, pictures of meals from Raymond Dining Hall.  Now, one may find this rather typical, especially considering Ray meals are not necessarily aesthetically appealing; however, these particular photos were coupled with a calorie count for each meal as well as other nutritional facts.

One may not think anything of this, but many students were appalled, and the post has since been deleted, suggesting pushback at its insensitivity towards students with disordered eating and poor mental health.

While PC has a very active student body and prides itself in athletic endeavors, as it should, this culture can be extremely toxic for many students. Frequent exercise becomes a way of life, rather than an avenue to promote healthy living and balance. 

Clearly, the people paid to promote student activities and accomplishments have no real grasp on the pain points and issues within the student body.

Posting the calories of a meal that would hardly satisfy a busy and physically active student perpetuates the “ideal meal” that is honestly ideal for no one. 

Every individual student has a different lifestyle, goals, and body. Their metabolisms are all incredibly unique. Thus, suggesting these meals with calories attached is simply foolish. It is neither accurate within the whole population nor helpful when battling disordered eating or poor mental health. 

@pcfriarlife’s post promotes the horribly sad expectation of what one’s body should be fueled by and should ultimately look like. No one should have to see this on their feed, especially not from an account they have come to love and trust. PC, we can do better.

Code-Switching: The Everyday Reality Students of Color Face Attending a PWI

by jmccoy3


Campus


Code-Switching: The Everyday Reality Students of Color Face Attending a PWI

Jezel Tracey ’24

 

Throughout the years, Providence College’s diversity rates have certainly increased. This is important to providing an equal opportunity to education for all BIPOC students. However, it does not eliminate the realities BIPOC students experience as a result of being a person of color on a predominantly white campus. Oftentimes, many students of color must alternate between two different personalities: one that corresponds with one’s identity and the other that responds to their social setting. This process is known as code-switching.

While code-switching is generally in the context of race, it is important to note that code-switching  can also be practiced in circumstances where there is a difference in age or profession, among others. For context, think of the ways in which one talks around their friends and parents. Due to the fear of appearing disrespectful or improper, they would not speak or act the same way around their parents as they would their friends. However, this sign of unprofessionality becomes perplexing when it is applied to the racialized norms and expectations of students of color. 

Code-switching is not something uncommon. Rather, it has become something normalized into a “second nature” for all people.

While code-switching can be generally understood as a choice, it is a necessity in the day-to-day life experiences of a person of color on a predominantly white college campus. Oftentimes, when a person of color does not code switch, they are not able to comfortably interact with people different from them. Sophia Gaines ’24 explains, “I don’t talk about everything with a white person the same way I would with a Black person because I won’t have a direct connection with them.”

  Students of color are not only aware of what to say and not to say in a casual conversation with white students, but also white authority figures. There exists a fear of appearing unprofessional to their professors and other authorities. The ways in which students of color talk with their counterparts and adults are not accepted as appropriate ways of communicating.

  Gaines also provides that, as a person of color, it is important to “align the ways you speak with how white people do.” She justifies this by suggesting that the ways white people speak are “identified as the proper way of speaking.” Thus, code-switching might make a student of color feel more confident in their conversations with their professors.

  A simple shift in approaching your professor with “Yo, what’s poppin?” to “Hi! How are you doing?” is a prime example of code-switching. While white students might also use phrases like this, the chances of them making a professor or other students uncomfortable are much lower.

  As a result of these experiences, students of color have to operate with a double consciousness.

  According to W.E.B. Du Bois, to have double consciousness is to look at oneself through a “white lens.” This lens is used to assess whether a person of colors’ comments or actions are acceptable or not. Myles Johnson ’24 explains this intersectional awareness as a “unique crossroad” between “authenticity and professionalism.”

  While code-switching is often joked about as a hidden power people of color have, in reality, it is an essential skill of survival in a predominantly white institution. Not all Black students are granted this skill. Take for example, a student of color who has never interacted with white people before coming to college versus one who attended a predominantly white high school. The Black student who has more experience in a predominantly white environment is more likely to be able to comfortably communicate and interact with white people than the one who was not.

Although it can sometimes water down one’s personality and character, code-switching makes being a person of color at a PWI so much easier. This is the honest truth, within a harsh reality.

Missing Women Versus Missing Black Women

by jmccoy3


Opinion


Missing Women Versus Missing Black Women

The Coverage Discrepancies Between Gabby Petito and Lauren Smith-Fields’ Cases

By Jezel Tracey ’24

 

Most people wake up and check their phones to read what the latest news is or hear what new sound is trending on Tik Tok. Unfortunately, amid those scrolls through Instagram and Twitter, the mysterious deaths of two women have gone viral–Gabby Petito and Lauren Smith-Fields. Two beautiful lives were tragically and heartbreakingly lost.

 

Both Petito and Smith-Fields disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Hearing about the death of their loved one was enough for close family and friends. However, not knowing how much-valued lives were lost only added to the ache of the families. Not only were both families perplexed by such mysterious deaths, but once their tragedies were brought to social media, people all over the world felt that there were missing pieces to the stories of their deaths.

 

Within the span of a few days,  Petito’s death went viral on TikTok. Thousands of videos surfaced on the internet regarding her seemingly inexplicable disappearance. Not only did users question why she suddenly vanished but also how she disappeared. Similar to the public’s viral concern about Petito, thousands of posts and reposts were made about how Smith-Fields passed away.

 

As the two cases continued being shared across social media platforms, people on the internet became deeply involved and invested in finding answers to the questions of their deaths. While the detectives searched for answers, it seemed as though the internet searched a little harder. Social media users did not rest without a push for an in-depth investigation.

 

While both women had questionable circumstances surrounding their deaths and viral concern over social media, there are many discrepancies between the sense of urgency in the investigations.

 

In regard to representation in the media from social media posts to major news articles, Petito and Smith-Fields were not portrayed in similar lights. However, what is interesting about this discrepancy in media portrayal is that Petito and Smith-Fields were both aspiring social media influencers but were represented in two different ways. Several news outlets chose to include photographs of Lauren in a bikini, while the suspect of her death is presented with professional attire. This simple difference unintentionally sexualizes and objectifies Smith-Fields, subconsciously creating a new narrative about her story.

 

There is even a noticeable difference in the ways in which both cases went viral. When it came to the death of Gabby Petito, social media involvement not only included obvious concern, but also devoted time into investigating, creating timelines, and critical analysis that led up to the time and location of her death. When social media users connected Petito’s case to her boyfriend, police immediately reported him as a person of interest.

 

While online detectives did help bring awareness to Smith-Fields’ case, it was obvious that unequal attention was yielded to create the same sense of urgency in comparison to the Gabby Petito case. The mysteries within Smith-Fields’ case go beyond why or how she died, but even who killed her. Unfortunately, Smith-Fields’ family had to resort to hiring a private detective when the man Smith-Fields was last seen with was announced as a person “not worth looking into” or a “nice guy.”

 

These many discrepancies are where the investigation and sense of urgency of a Black woman become a problem. Not thoroughly investigating her case and not finding a suspect “important enough” is one of the many instances where the violence against Black communities are silenced and ignored.

 

It is important to look at this story beyond the community it happened in, and the community one resides in. The outcomes between these cases show how important it is to listen to the voices of the community and take proper consideration to respect them. Throwing overcrowded parties and littering in residential areas is a simple example of silencing the voices of the communities one is surrounded by.

 

Of course, it is easy to view the silencing of outsiders as “college comradery.”Despite this, it is important to understand that Providence, RI, and particularly the Elmhurst/Smith Hill neighborhood, is home to hundreds of people other than students that live on the campus of Providence College.

 

The motivation to search for answers and closure fell short when it came to a Black woman, not because one was more important than the other, but only because society is used to ignoring and normalizing violence against Black communities.

 

The deaths of Lauren Smith-Fields and Gabby Petito are heartbreaking, and there should not be a difference in the sense of urgency. The way that Petito’s case was treated should not be viewed as something “better” or “more” but rather as the blueprint that all cases should be investigated.

New Year, Evolved Me

by jmccoy3


Opinion


New Year, Evolved Me

Creating Attainable Resolutions for the New Year

Jezel Tracey ’24

The beginning of the year marks a fresh page to be written in this “book of life.” Its first lines consist of clichés like “new year, new me” and “I am going to be a better person this year.” There are some who successfully achieve these sayings and some who do not. The difference between their success is not their attitudes or confidence, but rather, the steps they take to accomplish these goals.

New Year’s resolutions are goals that individuals set for themselves with the hope of changing habits and accomplishing tasks that they have never done in previous years. Whether it is losing weight, becoming more mindful, or making more money, New Year’s resolutions are always oriented around improving oneself.

Setting these goals for oneself is extremely important and beneficial for self development. However, these goals might become taxing when they are built on morals and interests that do not align with one’s own.

Creating goals and making plans that one wants to accomplish but that do not consider one’s best interest is one of the most toxic forms of self development. In fact, this emotional, spiritual, and physical exhaustion will do the opposite of self development. It is almost like trying to fit a puzzle piece that looks like the right part of the picture but is not. No matter how many times you try to convince yourself that it should fit, it never will, similarly to how a goal not tailored to a person’s current mental, emotional, and physical state is neither helpful nor realistic.

The biggest mistake that individuals make in their journeys to accomplish their goals is failing to realize that everyone’s process is different. No matter how similar your fitness, academic, or life goals are to someone else’s, it would be foolish to measure your capability with someone else’s. Oftentimes, when we create the same goals as other people, we neglect our own personal needs and wants. 

While it might feel grounding and inspiring to follow another person’s steps to development, it is important to ensure that they are feasible to your mind, body, and soul. These steps of development can range from workout plans, diets, organizing skills, or even confidence. Rather than using someone else’s journey as a direction of where to go, use it as a guide for how to get there.

Of course, it is hard to find ways to achieve goals without the help of others, however, it might be more beneficial to use the tactics that work well for you. One person’s weaknesses might be another person’s strengths, vice versa. While this can change through practicing healthy habits, this shift does not happen overnight.

As you set your New Year’s resolutions and goals for 2022, make sure that they are attainable and cater to your best interests. Create your goals and plans based on how your mind and body responds and not because someone else was able to accomplish it. Instead of starting a new page with “new year, new me,” start it with “it’s a new year, and I will evolve to a better me.” Focus on creating a better version of yourself, not a new one!

Normalizing the Abnormal

by The Cowl Editor


Campus


Normalizing the Abnormal

Reflecting on the “Post-Pandemic” Semester

by Jezel Tracey ’24

This semester has not been easy. It has been one of adaptation, regulation, and, most of all, confusion. Despite the negative events that have taken place, this year has been a mark of progress in the world’s battle with COVID-19.

Moving on from a year of online classes and being mandated to wear masks outside, walking to classes and sitting in classrooms feels abnormal. Thus, administrators and professors have done their best to replicate a normal semester this semester.

However, the “normal” that was in practice before 2019 no longer exists. Rather, the circumstances that COVID-19 established have become the “new normal.” This holds especially true for students who started college during the pandemic. As a result of this, three of the four classes at Providence College do not know what a normal college experience is like.

While many are able to acknowledge the urgency in reflecting on and addressing these events, responsibilities and obligations might get in the way of this. If there is anything that went back to “normal,” it would be the “work hard, play hard” and “life goes one” clichés. Although this is necessary, it only adds more stress to the process of understanding and adapting to how the world has shifted within the past two years.

On top of progressing into a higher grade with higher expectations and requirements, students and professors are still required to cope with the political, social, and economical unrest that have been and are still taking place today. This becomes challenging when course work is managed as if the pandemic no longer exists or affects students. Whether it was having Zoom classes as an alternative when one is sick or implementing mental health days within the semester, these minor changes made a difference.

As a result of this mission to get back to “normal,” it seems as though these tactics have been eliminated. While this does seem like the most efficient way to do this, it fails to understand that we are still “abnormal.” Instead, individuals should focus on creating a new norm.

So, as we approach the new year, it is important for one to use the lessons learned before and after COVID-19 to make a better version of themself. If there is anything that this pandemic has taught us, it was the importance of showing up for oneself. In creating this new normal, one must identify the healthy and unhealthy habits learned both before and during COVID-19.

Navigating post-pandemic methods while still being in that pandemic makes it very easy to fall into a mental rut of frustration, sadness, and irritation. Being a college student through all of this surely does not lessen the weight. However, it is still our responsibility to be productive and active in caring for ourselves. 

Last year’s New Year’s resolution might have been to “get back to normal.” For this year, one should focus on creating attainable resolutions: ones that cater to self-care more than productivity goals.If you do not show up for yourself, you cannot show up for others.