OPINION: The UIS Coronavirus Ghost Town

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Photographs courtesy of https://www.uis.edu

Walking the hallways of the University of Illinois Springfield campus this fall has been a somewhat eerie experience. Having been here for over three years, seeing a campus that resembles more of an old western ghost town rather than a thriving university spot has been jarring to say the least. Whether it is the sectioned-off spaces in the Student Union, spaced out studying spots in Brookens, entirely online course study or the lack of physical events to attend in general, the college experience has been so restrained that it no longer feels like college.

            Living on campus during the pandemic has been one of the strangest experiences thus far. An entirely online curriculum, at best, attempts to simulate the benefits of rigorous in-person discussion. An entire socially distanced campus makes the task of being united as an institution all the more difficult. The Union Food Studio is stripped to the bare minimum, making an already limited selection even more drab. All of these small elements of college life seemed so insignificant pre-coronavirus but now they can be seen as central to the experience. It is sad to walk hallways in empty buildings, attend classes in online discussion boards and have to stay isolated in your room for so long.

Still, there are things to be thankful for. I am thankful for a university that has spent so much to ensure their students are safe whilst obtaining an education. I am thankful for professors who try their hardest to teach in a medium they are not accustomed to. Most of all, I am thankful for the opportunity to continue my education throughout this pandemic.

            To the UIS freshman class of 2024, those who had to begin their college experience under the conditions of coronavirus, it is my hope that you will someday experience the joys of going out to campus events, spending time with all of your friends simultaneously and attending a packed lecture hall. We have given up so much to save lives these past few months, and we routinely forget just how much it has affected us. So, from me and everyone else at the UIS Journal this holiday season: thank you for your sacrifices. Someone will go on to live another day because of your thoughtful decision to wear a mask, socially distance and stay United in Safety.