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Reflecting on changes from COVID-19

-Juliana Shugar ’23, Spanish and Secondary Education POE, Disney-loving ice cream connoisseur

The day we got the email I was incredibly upset. I wouldn’t be returning to the new place I called home. I wouldn’t be able to go to my classes. I wouldn’t be able see my friends. This pandemic has impact all of us, and the biggest way that it has changed my life has been in regards to how it has affected school.

Juniata, along with pretty much every other college in the country, has shut down its campus and moved to online learning. Not being able to physically be in a classroom has not been easy. I find myself getting far more distracted during class at home, but perhaps the hardest part has been not being able to see my friends. I have met so many wonderful people at Juniata who I have become so close to, and it was definitely an adjustment to get used to not seeing them every day. Thankfully, we live in the age of Snapchat and Facebook and my friends are never more than a text or Zoom call away.

Originally, I was planning on writing this blog on preparing for my summer abroad in Mexico, but unfortunately, I had to change the topic. With the outbreak of COVID-19, Juniata sadly had to cancel all its upcoming study abroad trips, including my would-be 10 weeks in Orizaba. I had been thinking about this trip since I found out I would be going last May. I spent the past year thinking about what it would be like to study abroad, only for it to taken away at the last minute. I completely agree with Juniata and think cancelling the study abroad was the right thing to do, but it was still a sad moment when I found out I would not be going. Thankfully, the Mexico trip was postponed to next summer, so I will get to go eventually, but after another long year of anticipation.

Overall, this pandemic has not been easy on any of us. Even keeping up with this blog has been something I have had to remind myself to do. More than anything else I have experienced, this outbreak has changed my life, most especially my life at school. All the faculty have done an incredible job at being there for their students, and I cannot thank them enough for all their positivity and support. To anyone out there reading this, though life may look different now, do not give up hope. Keep on smiling. Be a light in someone else’s life. We’ll get through this together. Be #JuniataStrong