WASHINGTON, DC – This time of year should be full of celebration as college seniors throughout the country reach the conclusion of several years of hard work, late nights, and dedication to earning a college degree. However, this year has been anything but normal. Beginning in late March, colleges and universities across the country closed their doors, cut sports seasons short, cancelled end of year activities, and postponed graduation ceremonies until further notice. Few have been impacted more than seniors in college.The Network of enlightened Women, known as NeW, asked seniors in the network how COVID-19 has impacted their final months of college.
“I started making changes to my life when GW cancelled in-person classes. The first thing I did was say goodbye to the friends I knew I wouldn’t see for a very long time. I then packed as many belongings as I could fly home with, just in case I had to finish the semester in Massachusetts. At that point, I still didn’t believe that things would get as bad as they did.” – Bri Mirabile, Senior at The George Washington University
“The coronavirus has essentially ended my last semester of college early. I was unable to return to my school after spring break and have, instead, been working to complete my classes remotely. I was unable to take part in many senior celebration traditions that I spent the last four years looking forward to. The most difficult part for me was the cancellation of my school’s graduation ceremony, and we do not yet know if another ceremony will be possible. I am very mindful of the devastating impact the coronavirus has had on people, especially those working on the front lines. While I would never try to compare missing senior celebrations or graduation ceremonies to what they are going through, I am giving myself grace and allowing myself to grieve everything I am missing.” – Katie Robbins, Senior at the University of Virginia
“The most difficult part about not being on campus is not being able to say goodbye. It was during my senior spring break when I learned my university would be going remote for the rest of the semester. When I left campus a week prior, I never could have anticipated that would be the last time I would lead a normal college life. Though, for me the real difficulty lies not in missing the big events, but in missing the small things. Especially with spring approaching, it has been difficult not being around the buzz of campus. Be it seeing students out on the lawn studying, throwing Frisbees, or enjoying the last moments of senior year with friends. Graduating college is a milestone in our lives, and my heart breaks for my fellow seniors that will never have the chance to properly close this chapter.” – Madison Kutruff, Senior at Xavier University
“The most devastating part about not being on campus now is missing the end of my senior year of college. I was not ready to leave so abruptly, nor to lose out on the chance of saying goodbye to everyone. It hurts that I did not have that closure. I will miss my university very much.” – Elise LaFleur, Senior at The Catholic University of America
“This pandemic really took away the closure that myself and many college seniors needed to transition into the professional world out of school. COVID-19 has caused pain across the world and this may seem like a small, unimportant issue – but it really has been a sad time for college seniors across the country that had to say goodbye to their friends and college tenure at a moment’s notice during one of the best parts of college.” – Gabrielle Picard, Senior at the University of Mississippi
To support these seniors and others involved in the Network of enlightened Women, NeW has been creating an online community for conservative women through Facebook Live events, Instagram Live Empowering Chats, and Zoom meetings.
Karin Lips, President of NeW, shared, “Like the rest of us, students are wrestling with how to deal with the coronavirus. They grieve the loss of their semester together, especially graduating seniors, and hope the long-term impact on their careers will be limited. These women are our future doctors, nurses, first responders, and more. We can all work to help each other build the community we need. We don’t know how long social distancing will last, but it could go beyond this semester. As conservatives, we must make sure young conservative women have an intellectual home in the communities being built online.”
NeW educates, equips, and empowers women to be leaders for a free society.
If you would like to hear more of the stories from college seniors involved in the Network of enlightened Women, please contact Kathryn Alford, Communications Manager for NeW, at [email protected] or 571-310-5388.
NeW is the nation’s premier organization for conservative and independent-minded young women. NeW educates young women on conservative principles, cultivates a community in which to discuss and strengthen these ideas, and emboldens them to speak out on campus and in their communities.