By: Nicole Godnick

While students were experiencing a somewhat normal summer at home, colleges were trying to figure out how to allow us to have a college experience again without shutting down. Requiring vaccination and masks seemed to be the only option. The last-minute decision made by Mount Saint Mary College ended up giving students three choices: get the vaccine, apply for an exemption or don’t come to school. 

While a rash decision, could it also have been the right one? The college has been struggling with the COVID-19 restrictions for three full semesters. The policies put in place limited the students’ ability to do anything on campus. Many were left feeling isolated and frustrated with the college experience they had been given. 

The COVID-19 vaccine gave people hope. What originally seemed to be a never-ending pandemic now appeared to have an end. Cases started to go down and mask mandates were lifted for a short time. It seemed that the vaccine was the solution we needed to return to normalcy. 

College is supposed to be a fresh start, a new experience. Instead, most students didn’t even get to leave their house to experience what “college life” is. The current freshman and sophomore class have never felt what the college experience is, so what is there for them to miss? I was a freshman when the school shut down during the spring 2020 semester due to the pandemic. Since then, I have craved to have the same experience I had my first semester here. 

Whether you agree with the COVID-19 prevention policies MSMC put in place or not, let’s take a moment to be thankful that we are even here, in person. Masks are no longer required outside, classes are no longer virtual, visitation policies — for the most part — are back to normal and events are now happening again on campus! 

Think about all that the pandemic has taken away from us these past few years. Will you be the one to wait for change or will you enable the change to happen? I will gladly get vaccinated and keep the mask on if it means that what we are experiencing this semester won’t be temporary.