Many students are of mixed emotions that the University has been closed and is transitioning to online courses. The campus has been taking extra precautions to prevent the spreading of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. ODU’s Assistant Vice President for Strategic Communication and Marketing sent an email earlier Friday stating ODU will remain operational; however, a decision has not yet been made on whether commencement ceremony will be postponed or celebrated virtually.
One student, Frank Magpili, a senior graduating in May, is “deeply saddened” by the on-going pandemic and the potential decision to celebrate commencement virtually. He shared in a Facebook post about his thoughts, “This breaks my heart because I feel short in the gratification that my accomplishment entails. This milestone, my graduation, goes beyond me.”
Magpili also stated of his background, “I came to America as an international student dealing with the turmoil of adjusting to America’s culture and norms. The adjustment itself is a struggle.” He concluded the post by saying to his fellow seniors, “To everyone who is graduating, know that I feel the same exact feeling every single one of you has.”
Another student, Julia Baylosis, said in an email interview about the impact of COVID-19 that she understands the reason why the campus has to transition online. Baylosis states she cannot see an alternative option to prevent the virus from spreading. She says, “Due to the self-quarantine I am under, coming back from the Philippines, it is disheartening that I have not been able to connect with friends and family that I haven’t seen for nearly a month.”
When asked of the concerns with the University approaching online classes, Baylosis says, “For those living on-campus, I would hope that they receive reimbursement for housing/board.” She also says, “It would be so unfair to pay the full amount when students only lived in ODU housing for half of the semester.”
Since on-campus housing is still an issue, Residential Advisor to England House, Rose Conde, says she is satisfied with the University’s approach and quickly taking action. Conde says of her role as an RA, she knows many students in her hall came far from home.
“Their respective residence halls have become their home away from home and having it stripped away from them is disappointing,” she says. Conde included, “With my role as a Resident Assistant, I encountered some residents who had a challenging time adjusting to college but by being immersed in their residence halls and making friends, it has made their transition a little easier.”
There is still optimism underneath the fearfulness and heartbreaks of this pandemic. Conde says, “In the future I hope to see the community come together as one,” including, “Knowing that the world is so big is such a scary thought, but I feel that change really does start within the individual. I hope that with everything happening in today’s society, that we will all bounce back from it and come back stronger than ever.”