The dreams of returning to campus three weeks after spring break in 2020 are long gone. Our in-person routines and pleasures have nearly been forgotten. This coming semester will not be a return to a pre-coronavirus disease (COVID-19) life but a transitional period for everyone. Here is what our editorial board has to say about the past year and a half and their hopes for the coming semester.
Hayley Slusser, editor-in-chief: "I came to Rutgers as a transfer student in fall 2019, meaning I only had a semester and a half on campus before everything shut down. Heading into senior year, it feels weird knowing that the majority of my time at Rutgers was never really 'at' Rutgers and that I never participated in any of our school’s major traditions or events. That being said, I am so excited to come back in the fall and feel really driven to make the most of our return by getting more involved on campus. I want to push myself to build connections with as many students and professors as possible and try a number of new activities while I still have the chance to do so."
Maddie McGay, managing editor: "Having to go through an entire academic year online has been really stressful but also super eye-opening about my personal habits at the same time. While I have been able to reflect on who I am and where I want to be, I am really excited to finally get back to some sense of normalcy after so long."
Tori Yeasky, news editor: "It has truly been such a crazy time and something that I do not think anyone saw coming (I still do not think I have completely processed everything, to be honest). Time has gone by so slow yet so fast at the same time, and life kind of does not even seem real to be sometimes. I have been able to get involved with so many different organizations during this time, which has been great, but my studies have been severely hindered as a result of Zoom and online learning. It really only hit me this semester how bad it really is and how I feel like I have not even learned anything. While I am definitely nervous to get back to 'normal' life, I am so excited and literally cannot wait. Even though my second dose was so painful, thinking about it has honestly made me so happy and so excited to do 'normal' things again! I am super hopeful for the return to campus at Rutgers in the fall, and I truly need it so bad!"
Joanne Chung, associate news editor: "It is crazy to think that we have all been doing over a year of this now. For many of us, it has been difficult, but I think we should be proud of ourselves for getting to the finish line of another semester and a school year of being online. There is a lot to look forward to next semester — going back on campus, seeing the people and places we love, receiving the proper college experience we have been sorely missing. I hope we can all make the most of it and greet each other, whether we know each other or not, with a smile."
Alice Militaru, opinions editor: "The one thing I have been unable to get out of my mind for the past year and a half is how ready I was to believe I would be returning to campus three weeks after the pandemic really took shape, how ready I was to look for any sign that a serious and contagious disease would disappear in a few weeks. Quarantine has, for better or for worse, become a chapter in our lives, not a passing event. I wonder what kind of student and person I might have been without this sudden and unwelcome change in my life. I doubt I would have been one of The Daily Targum's editors had the pandemic never started. If anything, I have learned to be adaptable and take nothing for granted. I am very excited to return to campus, finally. I hope that Rutgers listens to its students' concerns and makes common-sense decisions in these unprecedented times. Most of all, I hope that we return to precedented times in the near future."
Laney Ortiz, sports editor: "This semester has been incredibly challenging but also incredibly rewarding. I have learned so much about myself and the people around me, and I have grown into a person I think my middle school self would be proud of. Becoming the head sports editor this semester has meant so much to me and has reassured me that sports media is where I want to be for the rest of my life. While it sounds cliché, I really learned that life is too short to not take chances and just go for it."
Dylan McCoy, associate sports editor: "Wow, last semester was wild. From starting a new job to getting into a new major, I had a lot going well in a time where not much was good. I hope that I can expand on the sports section and make it the fans' number one source for Rutgers sports news."
Nicole Falcone, copy editor: "This online year of school has shown me really how much I value and love being in school and all of the interactive moments that come along with it — from running into friends at the dining hall, to loitering after class in Murray Hall on the College Avenue campus to gossip, to taking the buses all around the campuses. As much as this year has significantly impacted my motivation and made me realize how impermanent everything is, I know in the fall I will be fully determined to make the best use of my time in every regard both academically and socially."
Chloe Tai, associate copy editor: "If I have learned anything at all during this pandemic, it is that it is hard to say goodbye, but it is a lot easier when I do not feel like I have taken my experiences for granted and have accomplished all that I possibly can. Editing article after article for the Targum might not seem like a huge accomplishment, but being able to learn from the writers and other editors, celebrating our paper's small and large achievements and getting the news out to my peers was a lot more than I could have ever anticipated accomplishing during these tough times. Most of all, I made a lot of lifelong acquaintances this semester that I could not have imagined my final year of college without, many of whom have taught me to live, laugh and love this crazy time we are in and have kept me optimistic for the future."
Kelly Carmack, photo editor: "As a graduating senior, it has been sad to have to experience my last year fully remote, but I am thankful for the fun times that I did have at Rutgers and will miss being on the Banks. Good luck to the undergraduates and future ones."
Nadia Rahim, associate photo editor: "The past year and a half have been an unprecedented and life-changing time for a lot of us. I was able to realize things about myself that I would not have noticed if it was not for the pandemic. I learned how important it is to appreciate those around you and enjoy the little things in life. I hope that one day we can get back to some sort of normalcy and go forward with our lives."
Rania Rizvi, features editor: "The past year and a half have been emotionally and mentally challenging. Though, I think it’s highlighted to me the importance of taking care of oneself, being empathetic and being present for others. I hope that the next semester will give us the opportunity to catch up on the experiences that we missed out on, and I hope to push myself out of my comfort zone."
Tarana Parekh, video editor: "Putting this past semester into perspective, I learned the importance of stepping out of my comfort zone. This meant taking on more challenging projects and finding ways to get creative while working through a remote setting. Moving forward, I am excited to get back on track with the major plans we had prior to COVID-19 and rebuilding our video desk to be stronger than ever. "
Eli Horowitz, associate video editor: "The past year and a half have been chaotic, to say the least. As a graduating senior, it has been terrifying to think about what a post-pandemic world will look like. But I am hoping that as more people begin to get the vaccine, we can slowly start to return to normal."
Hezekiel Poluan, social media editor: "Over the past year or so, I have learned that it is okay to take things a lot slower. I think prior to the pandemic, my life was always in this constant speed to look for the next thing to do. But, now, I have realized that you do not always need to do that. As cliché as it seems, it is fine to take one step at a time!"
We have all worked hard this year to keep the Rutgers community up-to-date on the latest news relating to the University, COVID-19 and more — something we will continue to do throughout this summer. We hope you have enjoyed our online paper this semester, and we are looking forward to welcoming you back on-campus in September for yet another unprecedented semester at Rutgers.
The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 153rd editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.