Photo illustration by Samantha Miller & Ryan Brinkman
From packed parking lots to fresh faces all across campus, Pepperdine students officially made it through their first week of school.
Though Pepperdine is still in transition, everyone should focus on the positive outcomes that come with returning to campus and celebrate the first week of classes.
“It’s just so wonderful to be back in person and to see actual humans walking around,” senior Saxophone Performance and Music Education major Ben Miller said.
Pepperdine consists of many wonderfully intelligent and upbeat human beings who shape this campus. Finally, after an extended period of separation, the Pepperdine community is unified again.
President Jim Gash confirmed the campus is back in full glory when he blew out the lamppost next to the statue of George Pepperdine. This was his promise to the University, as he stated he wouldn’t extinguish the light until every student returned to campus.
Now, it is true Pepperdine isn’t back to its former glory. Masked faces clutter every aspect of campus, parking is a nightmare worse than the Exorcist and on-campus meal choices aren’t always five stars.
Whether it’s outside Mullin Town Square, inside Elkins or even walking up and down Upper or Lower Dorm Road, masks are pervasive at Pepperdine. However, the key is to remember why people do it: to keep everyone safe!
Pepperdine may have the majority of its community vaccinated, but that doesn’t mean we should lose vigilance in maintaining social distance and wearing masks. Some people are immunocompromised or have children who can’t receive the vaccine. Therefore, everyone needs to be courteous of others around them.
Masks are a pain, but so was “Zoom university” this past year, as it’s been dubbed. Let’s choose the lesser of two evils and remember to enjoy everyone’s covered-up smiles in person.
However, the Goliath that is parking will take quite a bit of getting used to. Parking has never been the easiest here at ol’ Pepperdine, but every parking lot seems to be busting with cars since the added first-year class consists of around 1,200 students. Furthermore, fewer students are participating in International Programs.
The bright side of limited parking is pretty bleak, but there are ways to make it an advantage. Now is a great time for carpooling, which can be a good way to get close with your suitemates or roommates. While few are in love with the idea of a clogged parking lot, many love the chance to create genuine intimacy and connection with their friends and peers.
Every person on campus contributes to Pepperdine and can support one another. So, make a new friend in your house or suite and carpool, or perhaps even walk, to main campus.
Dining Services may also be a tad more restrictive in their menu items, but this doesn’t mean Pepperdine is without the variety of years past.
“I have a lot of options, and it’s pretty affordable, in my opinion, for full meals,” said first-year Business Administration major Steven Cordova.
For students like Cordova, the food trucks brought on campus add a sense of variety and intrigue to meals. It’s good to know Pepperdine is trying to fill in the gaps that can be attributed to the virus.
Even for those who still aren’t pleased, this just means they have a motive to tour the food capital that is Los Angeles.
Grab a couple of buddies and take one of the numerous cars that congest the Pepperdine parking spaces and occasionally get a bite to eat off campus.
Pepperdine may not be perfect or like its old years without masks, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be just as grand.
This is it — this is the moment where students come together to create a better community despite the circumstances given to us. Our first couple of days of Pepperdine may have just passed, but it’s only looking up from here.
Let’s follow the lead of senior Flute major Yoona Lee, who said she feels excited to embrace her final year at Pepperdine.
“It’s been a busy semester already — lots of catching up with friends and obviously catching up with the campus life, but it has to be a good year; I’m gonna make it a good final year!”
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