One year into the pandemic that turned students’ lives upside down, The McGill Tribune’s Student Life team reflects on a tumultuous, yet occasionally triumphant, year.
Holly Wethey; Contributor
For the past two semesters, I have been living in my Plateau apartment, watching Montreal go from the orange zone to the red zone, and back again. The ongoing isolation has led me to develop a habit of taking walks to decompress—leaving me with ample time for reflection. The loneliness of being the only people from my friend group in the city has made me realize how much the people in Montreal make the city so special. Though nostalgia for normalcy has certainly defined the past six months, so too have small pleasures, new experiences, and unexpected adventures. I made new friends, spent time missing distant ones, founded a magazine, drank a lot of bubble tea, and even started learning Portuguese.
Wendy Zhao; Staff Writer
I have spent the last three semesters in my childhood home, passing most days alongside my grandmother. Our routines have come to mirror one another’s. Drinking hot water and venturing out for slow neighbourhood walks are new fixtures in my life. She prepares the same eggplant dish almost everyday, while I have found equal comfort in preparing endless oatmeal variations. I am grateful to have this time with her before I move back to Montreal for my third year at McGill. Even while surrounded by memories of a younger self, it has become difficult to feel like a kid again. I am unsure what the next year will look like, but am hopeful that a time of hugs and reunions will come soon.
Maya Mau; Staff Writer
I have looked forward to attending university for a long time. It was strange to start my experience as a McGill student from my home in New York, but I still learned a lot from my professors and the peers I have met through remote student life. I am unsure what the future holds, but I am relieved that the vaccine rollout is underway, and thankful that I have received my first dose. While I have grown this year as a student and as a person, I look forward to experiencing in-person campus life in the near future.
Lucy Keller; Staff Writer
Everyone always says that university will be the best four years of your life. As my time as a McGill student comes to an end in these uncertain times, this phrase increasingly scares me. While I had an incredible time at McGill, I find comfort in the idea that I still have many years ahead of me to grow intellectually, make new friends, and have exciting nights out. This past year, I spent too much time on the couch pondering the years ahead of me. While thinking about the changes to come frightens me, it has made me more excited for what the future holds.
Josephine Wang; Staff Writer
I remember the plans my friends and I had laid out for our senior year: Go to hockey games, attend concerts, try out new restaurants. Our plan looks different now––to see each other again someday. It did not dawn on me until recently that I had no idea when I would see my best friends again. This uncertainty made me feel lonely and lost, but it also prompted me to reflect on the relationships that I valued the most, and the ones I wanted to keep. So, I am okay with not knowing exactly when we will all be able to see each other again—just knowing that we will eventually is enough.
Alaana Kumar; Student Life Editor
For many years, an acceptance to McGill was all I could think about, so seeing it end so abruptly hurts. Despite the current circumstances, I am incredibly grateful to have spent the last four years in Montreal and to have met such a unique group of friends both in-person and virtually. While my university experience was like nothing I could have imagined four years ago, I learned a lot—both academically and personally. I am graduating now with a greater understanding of what it means to work hard, be a good friend, and roll with the punches, and I think that is what makes it all worth it. Congratulations to my fellow graduates; it is quite fitting that the 200th class did it a little differently.
Leyla Moy; Student Life Editor
To be totally honest, I am glad I will not have to worry about tripping while walking across the stage at graduation—that might be the only upside to graduating via YouTube video. Lately, I have been wondering how much the pandemic has really changed these pivotal moments in our lives: Whether all the fanfare of graduation makes the monumental change seem real, or whether all college graduates are left standing in the dust of these four years, marvelling at how it all happened so fast, and, more worryingly, pondering what happens next. Looking forward, I will know not to take anything, even the seemingly mundane—like the joy of a lukewarm samosa wrapped up in a printed newspaper—for granted.
Kennedy McKee-Braide; Managing Editor
While I have always been involved in a number of extracurricular activities at McGill, I spent most of the first two years of my degree too anxious to fully immerse myself in some of the more social aspects of campus culture. I would make excuses, telling myself that the next week, month, or year would be the one I would finally work up the nerve to branch out. During the first months of the pandemic, I beat myself up for not taking advantage of the opportunities I had when life was normal, but recently, I have come to terms with the fact that I cannot change the past. Instead, I look forward to making the most of my post-COVID life. While my last year of university next year may not look exactly like what I once imagined it would, I hope to have more opportunities to take advantage of all that student life at McGill has to offer––in person this time.