I'm a College Senior and My Campus Closed For the Rest of the Year — What Now?

When I recently sat down on my bedroom floor and began my first online class, reality set in that I would not be returning to my college campus for the rest of my senior year. The news had spread that many college campuses all over the country would be transitioning to online courses in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and mine was one of them. I never thought it would actually happen.

When the announcement came that my school would be closing for the rest of the semester, I'd never felt that type of loss before. I suddenly wouldn't be able to spend one last night out with my best friends before finals or attend the many senior send-off events we had planned. Even my graduation ceremony is postponed. My college experience, as I know it, is over.

Now as I sit in my childhood home, attempting to finish my studies, that feeling of loss still lingers. While I know how fortunate I am for my health and to be able to continue my education, I'm still allowing myself to feel sad. This situation is affecting everyone on many different levels; for me, it's taking away the last few months of my senior year in college. Luckily, I've found solace in my family and friends as we deal with the isolation and grief together. I know I'm not the only senior missing out on that time in our lives that everyone always talks about and that we'll never get back, so if you're in a similar situation, here are seven ways I'm coping with missing my school.

1. Make a Superlatives Survey

Out of your friend group, who's the most likely to be on a reality TV show? The most likely to become president? Compile a list of "most likely to" options and choose which friends would fit. Put the list together in a quiz format and have everyone vote! This is a great distraction and a fun way for all your friends to reminisce on your college memories.

2. Plan a Future Getaway With Friends

Although travel is extremely limited right now, making future plans is a great way to keep your spirits up and have something to look forward to. Postgraduation is a great time to explore new places, especially with your best friends. Brainstorm a destination and put together an itinerary that you all can do once things start to calm down.

3. Host a Virtual Meetup

Thank goodness for technology! With apps like FaceTime and Zoom, you can have virtual happy hours or game nights with your best friends over video chat. Make a calendar invite for weekly chats so you always have a "get-together" coming up.

4. Make a Scrapbook

Going through the dozens of photographs you've taken this year is a great way to kill time. Once you've chosen the best ones, either print them out or upload them into an online scrapbook maker. Not only is this a fun way to pass the time, but you'll get an amazing summation of your senior year that you can keep forever.

5. Write Down Everything

Journaling or blogging is an effective way to deal with your emotions. Write about your feelings or try to recall as many fun memories as you can. Share your recollections with friends or keep them to yourself.

6. Prepare Your Job Search

While the job market is uncertain, you can never be too prepared. Start researching companies you're interested in and make detailed lists of the types of jobs they offer. When the time comes to apply, you'll have everything you need.

7. Reach Out to Your Professors

I'm lucky to have had a handful of passionate professors who have been a great support system throughout my entire college career and right now through all the uncertain times. Sending quick notes to thank them or ask for advice can lead to thoughtful conversation.