A 2020-2021 school year in review: pandemic edition

As we draw this academic school year to a close, it seems more accurate to say that this has been a challenging year for all, rather than most. 

One huge thing that we have seen in this last year’s worth of news, is the obvious…. The pandemic. 

When COVID-19, or as we called it at the time, “the coronavirus” began to rear it’s angry head, many students were still on vacation for spring break last year. 

Then as the University announced that we would have an extra week off, of course it was met with excitement. We got an “extra spring break” after all.

Ever slowly, we started to realize that this virus wasn’t going anywhere, and we had to adapt to the “new normal” of online learning and Zoom university. 

This “new normal” bled all the way into our fall semester, leaving faculty scrambling to adapt to the new ways of educating students, which was extremely difficult for faculty and students alike. 

Then, when you pair this with the political turmoil that our country and state has experienced in the last year, students have had quite the year. 

On top of the election year, students at MNSU and the state of Minnesota have had an intensely involved year, due in large part to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis policeman Derek Chavin last May. 

In the wake of the killing, there have been large scale protests all over the state, including in Mankato, where protesters even took to the highways, completely shutting down 169 for a brief amount of time. 

These racial issues that have been brought to light were only intensified, as we moved into the election.

As we looked at our two options for president of the United States, it was a furious debate between Donald Trump, the right wing champion for “telling it like it is” and Joe Biden, who ran on a platform that was essentially “I am not Donald Trump”. 

As students, we found so much division when it came to the past election. The debate of which presidential candidate would be best to mitigate the pandemic was on everyone’s minds. 

Then, the division, which typically tends to subside in one way or another immediately after an election, only seemed to increase. This division came to a head when a protest at the US Capitol resulted in protestors breaking into the building and running all over the halls of congress. 

And now, as we move forward, there is only one thing left for students to ask ourselves… what comes next?

How are we going to handle the pandemic as the threat begins to subside? How are we going to hold our politicians responsible? Maybe most importantly, how are we going to bridge this divide that plagues our nation as of lately?

We are young people, and while the 2020-2021 school year was much less than ideal, we have within our ability to change the world in our lifetimes for the better. So, whether you are finishing your freshman year or graduating, remember that this world can be ours, so waste no time making it so.

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