March 13, 2020 is the day where time stood still, and the world shut down as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the planet. Governments, cities and colleges slowly groaned to a halt. Fast forward to 2023, how are the 2019 freshmen doing now as they are graduating this May?
Keaton Mork, senior sports management media/marketing sports management leadership, felt that school didn’t feel like school. “When living on campus with in-person classes, it’s easy to create a daily routine. When you’re in the comfort of your own home, it’s easy to relax, shut your brain off for a while and not focus on schoolwork.” He said, “I completed all my coursework, but I found it was a lot more difficult to learn and comprehend through a computer screen rather than in person.”
Taylea Mills, senior social work major was also impacted by zoom classes. “I don’t remember most of my classes because zoom fatigue was a very real thing,” she said. “My parents were also essential workers and we had kids in our home so during most of my classes I was also babysitting and making sure other kids were in classes too.”
Will Minnick, senior history and public relations major, was a student-athlete at the time that the campus shutdown during track practice. “I had to learn the new outdoor event, hammer, my sophomore year, which put me behind a bit.”
Mork, who was a student athlete, said that the RaiderCheck affected athletes constantly. “We had to monitor ourselves closely every day to make sure we had zero symptoms. Even if I woke up with a headache because I was dehydrated from practice, I would have to report that, go get tested at the clinic and miss class and practice until I received my test results.”
Minnick felt that though wearing masks during track warm-up was awful, it still was meant to protect others. “I felt it was a Christ-like thing to do. The one bad thing was that people felt like they were entitled to not wear the mask which shows a lot about a person’s character.”
While wearing masks, Mills said “we had to learn how to ‘smile with our eyes’. I sat there for months making up what people’s faces looked like in my mind and then when we no longer needed masks it was a crazy shocker.”
COVID-19 slowed down collegiate sports, but also slowed down the building of friendships. Minnick said that “it wasn’t until the latter half of sophomore year, even the beginning of junior year, that I felt like I had found my people.” He said it made him realize how pivotal your experiences are freshman year help shape the following years of college.
Mills said that the trauma experienced regarding quarantine and COVID-19 brought us together. “After we all came back, most of us realized all that we missed out on and tried to step outside of our comfort zones to try to get to know others.”
“NW has taught me how to approach people, how to keep people around, and how to strengthen a bond between those people and I,” Mork said. “Before NW, I had a specific view on the world that was not backed by any evidence or argument. During my time at NWC, I formed my view on the world, strengthened it, and found evidence to back up my beliefs.” Mork said. “I was able to strengthen my relationship with Christ while at NW. Without guidance from a handful of people at NW, I don’t believe I would be anywhere close to where I am today in terms of my faith walk.”
While this class is graduating in May, there is still a lesson to be learned. Make the most out of your time on campus.