Hi everyone! My name is Michaela Lake, and I am a junior Psychology major at the College working as a Social Media intern in the Admissions Office this year. I am from Fair Haven, New Jersey, where I will be attending my classes virtually this semester. This fall is different from what I had imagined, but I am looking forward to what this semester has to offer.
As I begin my online classes, I have reflected a lot on what the transition to online was like in the spring compared to now. The transition from in-person class to online classes last year was an abrupt and difficult adjustment, with many bumps in the road as we as a community completely changed the way in which we learn and interact with one another. Holy Cross gave students and professors one week without class to adjust syllabi, become familiar with programs like Zoom and Google Meet, and in general get used to teaching and learning from our homes. This transition was done in a way my friends and I have called “organized chaos,” as we had to adjust each step of the way as the world around us changed. Now, as I attend classes in a fully virtual format this semester, this transition is less daunting than last year, as I do have some Zoom experience under my belt heading into my third year on the Hill. My professors have prepared syllabi knowing we would be remote for the entirety of the semester, barring any interruptions, like what happened last March. This semester is unlike any other academic year I have ever experienced, but is one that I feel more prepared for than I initially thought.
Being a college student during this time is challenging, frustrating, and at times isolating. College students are in a unique position within the new COVID world, as expectations for the school year are evolving everyday nationwide, and there is a strong feeling of uncertainty within each day, regardless if students are on-campus or in dispersion, like Holy Cross. Now more than ever, I feel being a college student requires flexibility and adaptability, as well as the ability to pivot at a moment’s notice. I have come to realize that being a COVID college student requires a “expect the unexpected” mindset, focusing more on the short-term rather than the long-term. However, in spite of the challenges that arise from being a college student during the COVID crisis, I do feel that I have grown academically and I gained valuable life skills. I feel that college students as a whole have been able to persevere through the tough times and unpredictability of today’s world in creative and innovative ways to make the most of their experiences both socially and academically.
I have a newfound appreciation and gratitude for my Holy Cross community in this time away from campus and in dispersion from my classmates and friends. The College has worked to continue offering extracurricular opportunities to students, as well as maintain a sense of unity and normalcy in what can only be classified as abnormal times. My friends and I still read The Spire, the College paper, each Friday as it continues to put out virtual editions each week. Currently, I am serving as a SPUD Community Organizer, and my team and I have been able to find new ways to engage in my weekly service in Worcester through SPUD in the remote setting. I got to participate in the Communitas Retreat run through the Chaplains’ Office last spring (the first virtual retreat put on by the office) and maintain my connections with the Chaplains in this time apart. This summer, I also got to co-lead a small group as part of the Horizons Retreat for the Class of 2024, also organized by the Chaplains’ Office, to welcome the incoming freshman class in a way the College has never done before. Getting to keep my extracurricular involvement in Holy Cross without being physically on campus is something that has reminded me how strong the HC community is, regardless if we are together on campus or spread across the country. These resources provided by the College have supported me and helped me feel like a true Holy Cross student, even as I attend classes from my bedroom.
This year, I am looking forward to working with the Admissions Office to create social media content for the Class of 2025, as social media has a newfound importance in the COVID world. I am also looking forward to working as a SPUD Community Organizer to help recruit and connect students to service in Worcester, even if they may not physically be in the city or on campus. I am also looking forward to becoming part of the Soul Squad groups, offered by the Chaplains’ Office so I can connect with other Holy Cross students in moments of reflection. Although this time is incredibly difficult, I look forward to strengthening my connections with the Holy Cross community.
~Michaela Lake ’22