Class of 2020: I Feel Your Pain


Image Courtesy of University of Hartford

Mason Brooks, Managing Editor

This is an unprecedented time we are living in for sure. The last three weeks have seemed like a whirlwind of events out of anyone’s control. Make no mistake, I believe the University has made all of the necessary moves during this pandemic in regard to closing, updates to students, and the transition to online classes. That being said, there really is nothing that can make up for missing out on my last semester of college at the University of Hartford.

From the moment I first read reports of other schools closing I knew it was inevitable. People held out hope that we would get through it unscaved in our little piece of New England, but in our hearts, we knew it was only the beginning. On March 12, when the University of Hartford officially made the call to close for an extended period of time, my heart sunk. Even though deep down I knew it was coming, I was now facing the reality I had hoped we would miraculously avoid.

In that moment, sitting at my desk in the Sports Center where I have worked since freshman year, I saw all of the athletes scrambling around, showing their friends their phones. Freshmen and seniors alike were pacing with a mix of gloom and fear. They knew their seasons were over, and some of them knew they would never get dressed in those locker rooms again. I could feel their pain. As a senior on the rugby team, I knew I would never lace up my cleats again after receiving that email… and it hurt.

The University allowed us two weeks of spring break to transition to an online format for classes, and to figure out what we were going to do amidst a global pandemic. Those two weeks were hardly a break though. I had to sit home isolated away from all my friends, who were now like family to me, knowing I may never kick it with them in Hartford ever again. I had to sit home and watch as my parents were effectively laid off from work, unable to work remotely. I had to sit home and ponder about all the memorable experiences I would miss during the conclusion of my senior year.

No longer would I be presenting my honors thesis that I had worked on for six months at the Northeast Regional Honors Conference in April. No longer would I be devouring lobster tail or rolling the dice at Mohegan during senior week. No longer would I be walking across the stage of the XL Center at commencement in May for my loved ones to see our family’s first college graduate.

The disappointment myself and other seniors felt is truly incomprehensible. However, I have realized the most important thing to come out of this is how we hold ourselves moving forward. Perhaps the last thing I will learn at the University of Hartford is how to deal with immense disappointment and still hold my head high. Maybe, just maybe, it is better to reflect on all of the successes, and failures, that have brought you to this point, than linger on the negatives. Sure, this is not how it was supposed to end, but life is rarely fair. For us UHart 2020 grads, life certainly is not fair, and yet, there are still those who never even got to experience what college was like. I am grateful that I was able to come to the University of Hartford, take advantage of the opportunities available to me, and learn valuable lessons along the way.

Sure presenting my honors thesis, playing another season of rugby, producing six more newspapers, experiencing senior week, having ten more classes with my favorite professors and smiling on stage for the whole senior class to see at commencement would have made for incredible memories. However, at a time like this, the best way to get through it is to remember all of the incredible memories you were able to make in that three and a half years. I keep hearing the quote “control what you CAN control,” and it is true. There is no use thinking about all that you will miss due to the pandemic because it is totally out of your control. The best you and I can do is control our lives with whatever gets thrown at us. Social distancing orders? Make the best of your time at home. Online classes? Rejoice that you did not have to take that midterm you failed to study for. Bored with no social life? Be happy you are fortunate enough to not be either a victim of or on the frontlines of the Coronavirus pandemic. I hope everyone out there reading this stays healthy, and controls the controllable, one day at a time. For my fellow UHart class of 2020 seniors, I feel your pain. We will come out of this more prepared than we ever could have imagined.