EDITORIAL: We’ve got déjà vu

It’s official: we’ve been in a pandemic for nearly two years now, and it has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride. Our heads are spinning in this endless cycle, and after Loyola announced that the beginning of the spring semester would be virtual, we can’t help but feel this overwhelming sense of déjà vu, and I don’t mean the Olivia Rodrigo song.

Whether you’re an upperclassman who experienced the worldwide shutdown in 2020 or a freshman who was sent packing in their first week of college due to Hurricane Ida, all of us have experienced the back and forth of virtual school and the never ending game of catch-up.

As we enter this new semester virtually, Loyola needs to be aware of the implications this new “normal” is having on us because the truth of the matter is that this is not normal.

Upperclassmen feel like they have whiplash, jerking from one new “normal” to another while freshmen have barely had a chance to catch their breath and get their feet on the ground. School may be online, but our lives aren’t, and Loyola needs to understand that.

When the pandemic began in early 2020, the entire world stopped. People were forced indoors and businesses closed their doors.

But amidst the mass hysteria and lack of toilet paper, college students were on Zoom hanging on by a thread trying to maintain not only our GPAs but our sanity.

Although many of us found solace in getting to see our friends through tiny boxes on our computer screens or getting to wear pajamas every day without shame, we have to recognize that the pandemic has taken an emotional toll that many of us haven’t yet recovered from.

According to TimelyMD, in 2020 alone, 85% of college students experienced increased levels of stress and/or anxiety during the pandemic.

Virtual learning may be a beneficial resource, but it comes at a price. Each time we are made to go online, there’s trauma associated with it. Whether it’s from an increase in deaths from a deadly virus or a Category 4 hurricane ravaging the city many call home, we can’t just ignore the reasons we are made to go online.

While Loyola may have been lenient with faculty and students as we were figuring out this new world in the beginning, they haven’t shown as much compassion lately. Professors were given control of virtual accommodations in their classrooms after it was announced that HyFlex classes would no longer be available in March of 2021, and since then, many have enforced stricter attendance policies and given less liberty in assignment deadlines.

The leniency that was once there has withered away, but we are still enduring the same uncomfortable conditions.

Like Adele, we are asking our professors to go easy on us because now is the time that we desperately need that same grace and respect that was given to us in early 2020 because—news flash— we are still in a pandemic.

While it may feel like history is repeating itself, it doesn’t make things any less difficult, worrisome, or isolating, especially with the back and forth of in-person classes and virtual learning.

For many of us, lack of motivation has been a big issue over the past two years, especially surrounding academics. Many of us are simply going through the motions, hoping that we won’t go back online and graduate on Zoom.

We may have déjà vu, as we continue to navigate these perpetual uncertainties, but students need to feel that they are being supported and heard by the university.