Each generation has had a defining moment of its time; for some, it was the attack on Pearl Harbor, for others, it was the chaos of the summer of 1968, and for some it was the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
Yet for us, our defining moment and/or period will be the time when the world came to a standstill because of the coronavirus.
Within a matter of days, we saw utter hysteria and madness descend on the world.
We saw all major North American professional sports leagues suspend operations, colleges across the country send students home and move online, and businesses close until further notice at the direction of their state’s chief executive.
We saw a travel ban put in place that served as a barrier for international students who may have been hoping to return home to be with their families.
We saw the president of the United States declare a national emergency, which escalated the severity of the situation to another level.
As this situation relates to students at Gannon University, we saw our educational careers and lives do a full 180 in a split second.
From anticipating having a quiz on Monday and preparing by enjoying the St. Patrick’s Day festivities, my intentions switched to how to fully move out of my dorm within days, and how I would suddenly say goodbye to my many senior friends whom I won’t be able to see again before their graduation.
Many students have attempted to grapple with the reality that all social events will no longer continue, meaning no formals for fraternities and sororities, no retreats, no Omega week, no International Night and a host of other events that students were excited for.
For many student-athletes, all the preparation and excitement that had been built up for the competitions this semester went for nothing in the flick of a switch.
Students who hadn’t prepared to return to their homes for at least a month and a half were spending Friday frantically calling their parents trying to book flights, store housing goods, and vacate campus before stricter rules and regulations are enforced.
Students in a major not required to remain on campus have been in touch with their professors to figure out how the rest of their semester looks and are under pressure to ensure they pass their classes and receive the credits needed to continue their progress toward a degree.
I don’t mean for this all to sound querulous, as the severity of the situation required our school’s administration to make difficult decisions under increasingly harsh circumstances and public pressure to take action mounted.
However, it doesn’t remove the disappointment and sadness many in the student body are feeling this week.
With the world the way it is at the moment, it surely is a time our generation will not soon forget.