This fall, Pepperdine students return to campus after a totally normal summer. There’s nothing out of the ordinary — everyone’s fine, all the summer abroad programs were so fun, and we definitely didn’t just exit a period of tremendous collective loss and trauma (that actually might be true, considering we haven’t made that exit yet).
The reality is the Pepperdine community is returning to campus after the most out-of-the-ordinary conditions in history. While this transition is definitely exciting and long awaited, there is something so jarring about stumbling out of a year of darkness into bright and sunny Malibu.
In the biggest understatement of the century, Pepperdine students endured a lot of loss since March 2020. First, losing half of a spring semester (which was almost worth it for the free A in convocation, except now the convo office is extinct), followed by a summer, an entire academic year and another summer.
These lost semesters and summers mean lost time abroad, lost time in Malibu, lost experiences and, saddest of all, lost time together. As enjoyable and flawless and idyllic as Zoom is, there’s nothing that can replace the feeling of being physically in a space with friends or classmates or professors.
All of this doesn’t even begin to account for any personal losses, and it would be impossible to list everything we missed because of the pandemic.
I don’t remind everyone of these losses to be a downer or kill the vibe as we all begin trying to pick up where we left off 18 months ago — but to instead acknowledge what we’ve gone through and give everyone permission to take the time they need to process and continue with campus life.
It’s OK to not be “fine,” even as good things happen.
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Contact Addison Whiten via Twitter: @addisonwhiten or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org