The Evolving College Experience  

Austin Reimann, Writer, Co-Editor

Going to college in the midst of a pandemic is an already strange experience. It differs from the reality students prior to us faced and enjoyed. Social life slowly faded away. Faces became unrecognizable behind masks. Sporting events were ghost towns. Memories from parties that never happened will never be reminisced upon. Some friendships, relationships, and mentorships will never be realized. This is the reality we now live in and have lived in for the better part of two years.  


The college experience was a shell of what it used to be for the better part of the last two years. Eventually—hopefully—things will return to normal. Until that day comes, we are left to reflect on where we are today. 


Covid-19 crept up on us. Then, like a bolt of lightning it was upon us. In the blink of an eye, classrooms closed their doors in favor of online teaching. Sports seasons ended abruptly. Clubs stopped meeting. Libraries were quieter than ever before. 


This is not meant to appear as a selfish rant ignorant of the devastation the pandemic has wreaked for many. Rather, this is an observation about the college experience; what it was and what it has become. 


Regardless of your interpretation of what the “college experience” is, it has been altered by the pandemic. Those who place a premium on interaction have been largely shuddered for the better part of two years. Those who place a premium on their studies, have been relegated to partially studying online.  


Luckily as our world evolves to deal with this pandemic, so has the college experience. Students are once again in the classrooms, student sections, and the libraries. There may be a slightly different feel to everything, but the college experience is indeed evolving.  


Marian has done as good of a job as could be expected in adapting to the pandemic. Classes are now primarily in person. Students are once again able to socialize in a more natural environment. There have been bonfires, carnivals, and gatherings in the quad. A return to normalcy on college campuses can be seen not only at Marian, but also across the country as fans flock to college football games and tailgates. It is a welcome scene, one that reminds you of a pre-pandemic world.  


While we may be weeks, months, or even a year away from a return to a true normalcy as a country and as a campus, there are encouraging strides being made at Marian. Will the college experience ever fully return? It depends on your interpretation. For some, it already has. Luckily, we are moving closer and closer every day.