Looking forward to a new school year, experiences


Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Associate News Editor

After a much-deserved summer vacation, we are all back at Eastern Illinois University for another year of attending classes, making connections, joining RSOs and doing whatever else college students do.  

I’ve been back at Eastern for a few days now, and I’m so excited to jump back into all the fun this university provides. For me, that has been working for the Daily Eastern News, getting ready for my year as LASO president and attending the Welcome Week events.  

I’m especially happy to see Eastern have the same life and energy it did before COVID-19 changed the world.  

Way back in 2018, I was part of the last group of freshmen to get a “normal” school year before COVID-19 hit. I got to experience all the fun things Eastern provides for about a year and half.  

When I reached my sophomore year at Eastern, we were sent home for a two-week Spring Break that ended up turning into two and half months of virtual learning.  

When I came back to school, I was unsure of how it would go. I was certain Eastern would only last a few weeks before shutting down, like many other universities in the country did.  

 We managed to make it through a full school year, but it meant losing a lot of those classic college experiences that we’ll remember for the years to come. 

Don’t get me wrong—I think everybody did the best with what they had to make the 2020-2021 school year a great one. But it just wasn’t the same.  

After all that, I’m glad to have some of the normalcy I missed during my junior year, a school year in which I was too scared to even leave my room most days.  

More than anything, I missed having in-person classes and events after a year of doing most of them virtually.  

I missed making meaningful connections with my professors and peers in those spaces that brought us together: open mic nights, informative panels, RSO meetings, dining halls, anywhere really! 

I’m being a little optimistic these days, but I’m also worried. I’m worried about the rising COVID-19 cases, the new variants that keep popping up and the amount of people that aren’t getting vaccinated.  

But I hope that if we continue following the COVID-19 guidelines and doing what we can to protect ourselves and one another, this can be a really great school year.