By Madison Weber ’23, Staff Writer
Home. A simple word with a slightly more complicated definition. The last week has made me question my true definition of that word. Fisher says they sent us home, but to be honest, it feels like they took a piece of home away. So now I sit here in my “real” home wishing everything that I could go back. My name is Madison Weber and I’m a Sophomore nursing student with a Spanish minor here at Fisher. Through the remainder of this semester, I’ll be doing a column on the realities of a remote education.
On Tuesday, October 20th St. John Fisher College announced that the rest of the semester was to be completed online due to a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, and students had until 9 p.m. on the following day WednesdayOctober 21st to leave campus. As of October 23the 23rd, we had 97 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
This week for me has been chaotic, surreal, and full of goodbyes. From speaking with peers, this seems to be a common sentiment in the lives of Fisher students. As it’s my second year at Fisher, two thirds of my semesters here have been ended early by COVID-19. I went from offering to cover someone’s shift at work for Saturday on Tuesday morning, to quitting that job and moving back home on Wednesday. Our lives were flipped upside down, and we were given 16 hours to pack ourselves up and say goodbye.
I know it sounds foolish, especially now looking back, but I’d thought we were safe. We’d had very few cases and seemed to have a good system regarding sanitation and social distancing. The first half of the semester seemed to be going so well. It all changed in what felt like an instant. But that is the dynamic trademark of this virus- and the world we live in today. Nothing is a guarantee anymore and it seems like COVID-19 can take anything away at any time.
Compared to our early departure last spring, this one feels different. There’s less unknown, which can be either good or bad depending on the angle you look at it from. I know what to expect, but that’s not always uplifting. Unlike last semester, none of my friends from home are also local, because Fisher is one of the only schools in the area to have closed. The rest of my family is back at work and school. Most days I am alone with my dogs until 4pm or later. So while the world may be more opened up than last spring, I somehow have an added layer of isolation from last spring when my family was home with me.
Online classes have been taking place for a few days now and it definitely seems smoother than last semester. Professors have been helpful in this transition- many of them reaching out to make sure their students are okay, and to assure them that they are here to work with us to make this semester successful. However, I’m struggling with finding the routine and drive to be as dedicated as I was while at Fisher. Especially without all of the study tools, spaces, and peers that Fisher offered. While there may be nothing the professors can do about it there does feel to be an educational gap- something lost in the transition to online.
Despite all of this uncertainty, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to find things to stay positive through this trying time. When I look outside, the sun is still shining and the leaves are still changing. It’s not like in the pandemic movies where the world turns cold and gray. It’s still our same world, we are just on a bit of a hiatus from it. After the two week quarantine, I’ll be able to return to work at a local hospital and hopefully have a bit more of a routine.
While part of me is ready for this semester to wrap up, I try to remember that these are still my college years and I shouldn’t wish them away. They say that your college years will come to define and mold you as you grow into adulthood; I often wonder what this ordeal will mean for us.