OPINION: A personal reflection of this past semester


Allie Hendricks

The sun rises at 6:30 a.m. on WKU’s foggy campus on Nov. 10, 2021.

Price Wilborn, Commentary writer

Y’all, we’ve done it. We’ve made it to the last days of this semester. I don’t know about you guys, but mine flew by. I can’t believe my first semester of college is just days away from being done! It’s been an odd one, that’s for sure. COVID-19 has made for an interesting first few months here in Bowling Green.

When I was little, I had absolutely no idea what college was going to be like. I had heard from family members about their experiences, but it never really resonated with me. Going into my junior and senior years of high school, I knew I needed to be thinking more about what college and the future was going to look like.

I imagined it as something I never felt prepared for. College was going to be a place where I was going to study all the time while constantly asking myself why I was doing it. There were going to be parties every night that I in no way wanted to be a part of. I’ve always preferred smaller get-togethers where we sit around a table and play cards, anyway.

I was just barely beginning to wrap my head around the whole college thing when the worst thing that could possibly happen happened. COVID-19 threw me for a loop. My focus on college had to shift to trying to survive the last year and a half of high school without going absolutely crazy.

Senior year rolled around and I had realized that I absolutely had to begin to seriously think about college. Let me rephrase that–my parents got me in gear and made me realize that in less than 365 days, I was going to be graduated from high school and beginning college life. 

COVID changed all of my expectations for college. Were all my classes going to be online? Was I going to be able to have any form of social life? Was I going to constantly be scared that I was going to get quarantined or contract COVID-19 myself?

My first tour of WKU was in October of 2020, and it was weird. I remember not seeing a lot of students. We were all in masks. Everything normal about college life was put on hold.

Eventually, the pandemic got a little better and here we are today. We still have to wear masks, but that’s been the biggest thing I’ve had to worry about COVID-wise. All of my classes are in person. I’ve made friends and been able to stay connected with them. I’m able to do things like tailgate, go to in-person club meetings and get involved in everything I wanted to be involved in.

I struggled having classes online during the height of the pandemic. It drained me mentally in a way that I had never been before. There were several breakdowns and too many times I wished for the school day to be over. I was not ready to go through that again, two hours and a different time zone away from home.

I’m grateful to Western Kentucky University for taking the precautions that they have the past several semesters. I know they just began to impact me in August, but without them before, I don’t believe I would be having the same experience. The sacrifices students made last year have allowed for a campus that does not have to worry about COVID-19 as much.

More than that, it’s allowed for a student life that seems revitalized to a freshman. I was drawn to WKU because of the number of things I could do. Now, it seems like a world full of even greater possibilities. Everyone is involved in something on campus, no matter how big or small it may be. It’s given life to athletic events, homecoming and even my classes. 

Losing the bulk of my last year of high school, I’ve yearned for ways to get involved to fill the holes left by COVID-19. WKU has created a renewed sense of what it means to be a Hilltopper–involved, proud, and academically invested. Yes, the masks suck, but they’re a small price to pay for a year that’s as normal as any have been since before 2020, and I’m willing to keep wearing mine if it means a continued normal college experience.

I wish each and every one of you the best of luck next week on your finals. You’re going to do awesome. I hope you guys have a great winter break, too. It’s been needed, that’s for sure. I wish you all the happiest, warmest, most fulfilling break you can get. You’ve earned it.

Commentary writer Price Wilborn can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @pricewilborn.