A Reflection on the College Experience Amid a Pandemic


Courtesy of Sarah Jones

The Freshman year experience was very different during the pandemic. 

Joe Adams, Staff Writer

Well, we’ve done it. Villanova has completed its first full year in a pandemic. 

Personally, I’m surprised that we made it. We saw the spikes of COVID-19 cases last semester, but even bigger spikes came this semester. Luckily, we were able to push through and stay on campus all year long.

First and foremost, I’m so grateful that we were able to have school within a pandemic. The idea of this seemed impossible almost a year ago, but somehow, the University made it work. Although not every aspect of college life was normal, it was as normal as it could be given the circumstances. I know a lot of my friends back home have had to stay online all year, so I feel extremely lucky that I got to spend my first year of college on campus. 

There is a lot that I appreciate about how Villanova handled the pandemic. For example, the outdoor events with high quality food trucks each week was something that I looked forward to. I also enjoyed the in-person events we were able to have from time to time, such as the Relay for Life 5K, the game watch on Mendel Field and NOVADance. These events made college feel “real” for me, and I had such a great time at each of them. 

I wish Villanova created more of these events, because they were all safe and exciting. The common theme of community in these events because so many members of our student body were able to go and participate, and that made it all the better. When we were able to come together as a community, it truly made me feel like a Villanovan. This is the best part about Villanova: the feeling that we are all in this together as one community.

There were also some parts of these past two semesters that I wish were different. First is the food. Although it was my first time on campus, I’ve heard that the food used to be “so much better.” And that makes sense, because I did find myself wondering if it would ever improve in the first semester. By the time the second semester came, there were more options, so that was a plus. But, hopefully in August, there will be even more to choose from and a bigger variety of different foods.

I also think that the University could have done a better job with mental health. Many students have voiced their opinions on this, as we are all feeling burnt out right now. Furthermore, for those of us who needed counseling or somebody to talk to, our concerns did not feel like a priority. I think many of us had to silently struggle to get through these past two semesters for a variety of reasons, and I wish the University had put more of an emphasis on prioritizing the mental health and well-being of the students. Whether it was a lack of days off, or just getting loads of work while having to deal with a pandemic, this is one aspect of Villanova I hope improves in the future.

Another aspect of campus that could have been better was communication. A lot of time, I felt left in the dark, especially with updates on COVID-19. I wish I knew more about vaccine updates before the final weeks of school or about the spike of cases on campus and how we would be fixing the issue as quickly as possible. While the messages came, they often came too late. 

As a whole, I’m pretty happy with how my first year went. Things were different, but more things went right than wrong. I’m optimistic for the future, especially if Villanova requires the COVID-19 vaccine to return to campus. But for now, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.