~ Submitted by Lily Nemirovsky
This year I have started my third semester at Mount Holyoke College, a small liberal arts school in western Massachusetts. The adage “two steps forward, one back” has never felt more applicable.
Coming back on campus after winter break I was overwhelmed with feelings of déjà vu. Many of the restrictions that were put in place last spring and then lifted in the fall were reinstated. The school returned to remote classes for at least two weeks and the dining hall was deemed “take-out only” until further notice.
While I think most of us believe these protocols are completely justified, adjusting to the changes has been more difficult than it was when my fellow sophomores and I arrived on campus for the first time last spring. Back then we had no first-hand knowledge of college life to compare and reminisce about. The little we were allowed to do we viewed positively – at last, we were able to move out of our childhood bedrooms and have in-person conversations with people we’d only met over Zoom; we were able to study in picturesque academic settings. Fall brought still more privileges…and then the reinstated rules felt like losses all over again. Now we think: we are not allowed to eat in the dining hall, we do not have in-person classes, spectators are not allowed at sports competitions.
But perhaps we don’t have to see all this as a “step back.” Maybe it is a third step forward – certainly not ideal, but at least closer to a time when the pandemic will not play such a central role in our daily lives. Once this Omicron surge peters out we will have fought against one more variant, millions more will be vaccinated and boosted, and each one of us will have found a dozen new ways to make the most of the situation.
There is still a long way to go, especially with poorer countries receiving far less than their share of resources to combat the virus. We are lucky to live in places with access to resources and we must remind ourselves of our good fortune, including being able to take precautions in the first place.
Editor’s Note: Lily Nemirovsky, BHS Class of 2020, began classes at Mt. Holyoke College in 2021 after an adventurous gap year; while a student in Bedford, Lily wrote often for Student Voices.