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Making College during Covid the New Normal

Jules Slater
Jules Slater ’21, Advocacy Communication POE, Future Mayor of Picklesburgh

“I figured even though it wasn’t what I was used to, at least I could be on campus when so many other colleges were forced to shut their doors.”

I’m two days into my last semester at Juniata. Wow. If you’ve been reading my other blog posts, you know that I tend to get sappy about my time at Juniata ending, so I’ll try to avoid that as much as possible in this one. Since the first blog post I wrote, I’ve focused mostly on aspects of campus or opinions I hold that have been unaffected by COVID. However, after living through a semester unlike any other, I think it’s necessary to commemorate it in writing.

This semester was, as everything else in the world seems to be these days, unprecedented. Coping with the effects of a pandemic on campus was stress inducing at times but I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to create a new normal on-site instead of from my childhood bedroom in Pittsburgh.

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What I miss about Juniata over break (and what I’ll miss for the rest of my life)

Jules Slater
Jules Slater ’21, Advocacy Communication POE, Future Mayor of Picklesburgh

It took me a long time to get homesick during my first year of college. I missed my family (especially my dog), of course, but the intense homesickness we often hear so much about just didn’t set in. I believe this is because I’ve always felt like Juniata is my home just as much as my real home is my home. I’m reminded of this fact every time I leave Juniata for fall, winter, spring, or summer break. No matter how long I’m away from Juniata—whether it’s four days or three months (or eight months when I studied abroad)—I find myself homesick for the same things.

The first thing I always miss—obviously—are my friends and loved ones at Juniata. My roommate, my significant other, my favorite professor, my friend group… these are all people Juniata has led me to. But more than missing just these people and the wonder and excitement they add to my life, I miss the social aspects of campus that simply don’t exist in my hometown. Things like bingo on the quad or waving hello to someone from my window in Cloister’s arch. I miss having everything I need less than a city block away from me; friends and support system included.

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Three and a Half Years of Firsts

Julia Newman
Julia Newman ’20, Professional Writing POE

My impending graduation has had me reflecting back on a lot of things lately. Three and a half-ish years ago, I wrote my first blog for Juniata. Now as I write my last, I thought it would be a fun full circle moment to revisit my first ever blog, aptly named “A Year of Firsts.”

My first year of college was one of much adventure. I met my two best friends, lived with my first roommate, gained and then lost the freshman 15, discovered many new passions, tried a million new things, and started figuring out who I was.

Rereading my first blog, I see that so many parts of it were true and so much has changed since I wrote it. I pulled a few quotes that I think are especially relevant to the course of my reflection:

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Debunked: 3 Myths about Individualized POEs

Jules Slater
Jules Slater ’21, Advocacy Communication POE, Future Mayor of Picklesburgh

If you know anything about Juniata, you know that we don’t have majors the way other colleges might. Sure, you can come in with a Designated Program of Emphasis (POE) like English or Business and have similar requirements to majors at other schools. But you could also write an Individualized POE of “Writing and Society” or “Marketing Strategies.”

There are many myths about the process of individualizing your POE and about graduating with an individualized POE. I’m going to debunk three of them and explain how I individualized my own POE.

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5 Reasons Why Hybrid Learning Grew on Me

Julia Newman
Julia Newman ’20, Professional Writing POE

I admit I was not excited for hybrid learning when Juniata had announced its Fall 2020 semester plans. Online classes at the end of last semester and over the summer were not my jam. I found it hard to focus and keep myself on track.

As we enter into the third week of classes, I think I’m finally getting into the groove of hybrid classes. The collaboration between Juniata’s faculty, staff, and students has made this transition a little bit easier. We’ve definitely hit many bumps in the road, and I don’t doubt that there are still many more to come, but I have found five reasons that I have come to enjoy hybrid learning.

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