SLU (Missed) Connections: The Value of Community
The presence of COVID-19 has required everybody around the globe to make adjustments to their everyday lifestyle, and college campuses are no exception. It was impossible to imagine as underclassmen that 12 months of our college experience would be during a global pandemic, forcing all students to alter what was previously considered normal.
St. Lawrence has always been known for its strong sense of community, which is built starting from the Candlelight Ceremony the first night of freshman year and makes us Laurentians for Life. Students here walk around campus and are greeted by smiles from familiar faces. They connect with peers and faculty in the classroom and look forward to the many traditions of St. Lawrence. With the safety of all students in mind, social distancing regulations have forced everyone to rethink traditional St. Lawrence life. While college during a global pandemic has been a different experience, I have found the community to not just remain intact but in fact strengthen. During the past year, I have noticed students and faculty able to come together in creative ways to make the St. Lawrence experience unique and as close to 'normal' as possible.
For example, this fall, I took a managerial economics seminar with seven other students. One beautiful day, instead of conducting class inside, we were able to have class in the backyard of our professor's house, of course socially distant. It was the perfect way to make the best of a nice day, amid COVID restrictions, and was incredibly thoughtful of our professor.
Outside of the classroom, our student body worked hard to adapt events such as Winter Carnival this year. There were a variety of events held across campus, including snowball fights, sledding, skating, snowman making, and more! Each club downloaded an app provided by the University to keep track of attendance, and it was so refreshing to be able to get a large portion of the student body involved in a COVID-safe manner.
The smiling faces around campus may look different under masks, but the friendly conversations are still the same. Although larger gatherings may not have been possible, social distancing regulations have allowed me to become closer not just with my roommates in my family unit, but with the rest of the Townhouse community. The student-run clubs on campus have created COVID-compliant events to continue the constant activity that has always been present on campus. The professors, while hosting some of their classes on Zoom, make sure to still find ways to connect with students virtually. Students are sure to reach out to their classmates and stay in touch, and Instagram accounts such as "SLU Missed Connections" have created a platform to continue a dialogue that may not always be possible. Campus may look different at the moment, but the components that make St. Lawrence a special place are still very much intact.
The class of 2021 and the rest of the students that have been at St. Lawrence throughout the past year may not have had four years of normalcy, but we will have accomplished something that not many students have gone through. We have all worked through health regulations while remaining positive to make our time here as memorable as possible. Future Laurentians will, fortunately, be able to have what is traditionally considered a normal St. Lawrence experience, but the current students have learned that regardless of any curveballs thrown its way, the Laurentian community will always thrive.