“This is the first year I’ve had here that’s actually ended normally,” says Pacific University junior Lauren Fetzer. “My first year we had Covid and the next year I took time off. This is my first proper conclusion to a term.” 

As this spring semester comes to a close, students are reflecting on the wild year behind us. 

“This term was tough,” remarks Fetzer, “but it was still good, full of challenges I appreciate. Still, I’m very happy it’s over.”

Since the onset of the pandemic, over two years ago, undergraduates across the country have reported significantly higher levels of stress than in previous years. 

In a 2021 interview with Teen Vogue, Psychotherapist Akua K. Boateng, PhD., attributed this increase in stress during the pandemic to the loss of structure and social connection during an already uncertain time in our lives. Students are dealing with the pressures of young adulthood, finding jobs, moving out, and taking care of themselves, all during what feels like the end of the world.

“A lot of globalized uncertainty kind of exacerbates all of those prenatural transitional experiences that you have,” Dr. Boateng said. 

Seniors like Charlie Hutson are finding it difficult to draw close to the end of the year, as moving away from the Pacific means moving into life away from school.

“Moving on from this is daunting, since my post-grad plans are up in the air,” said Hutson. “It feels surreal. This doesn’t feel like the end of the year to me. It’s hard to process it.”

Still, students are finding ways to be positive. 

“The end of the year is wrapping up nicely,” said freshman Ethan Fisher.. “If anything is going on, I can always be productive and learn about soil microbiology or I can feel good about myself when I speak a foreign language semi-smoothly.”

As the summer rolls around, many students are planning to travel and get back into hobbies that have been put on hold.

“This summer I’m going to miss my friends and the sense of community, but I’m hoping to catch up on my traveling,” says Fetzer. “We’re gonna go to the redwoods and do some hotsprings-hunting, which will be interesting considering California likes to catch on fire in the summer.”

“I’ll be on a cruise in Europe,” says junior Sophia Tong, “We’re stopping in Rome, France, and Spain. I’m honestly a little scared because COVID is still happening, but I’m hoping the cruise line is going to be on top of it.” —Tyler Burnett

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