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A Senior’s Perspective on an Unexpected Semester

Katie Clark ’20

Social Media Director

To the Seniors at Merrimack College,

Where to even begin? To be honest, it’s crazy to look back on how quickly everything has happened. Just a few weeks ago we were still at school, eagerly awaiting spring break trips as they symbolized the beginning of celebrating the end of senior year. We were pretty carefree; most of us had lighter schedules, we were enjoying our Thursday nights at Augies, going on spontaneous road trips with friends, and simply enjoying still being in college before entering the real world. 

And then in a matter of days, everything changed. 

On March 10, the college announced that Spring Break would be extended until March 22. 

On March 13, this date was once again extended through April 13, with all classes moving online for the time being. While this date could change, at the moment it is Merrimack’s goal to resume in person classes on April 14.  

On March 19, President Hopey and staff held a virtual town hall meeting for students and families to discuss and address concerns about the remainder of the semester. Perhaps the most pressing question was what was going to happen to senior week and graduation. To the relief of many, President Hopey provided a sense of comfort as he stated that he would try everything in his power to hold some form of a senior week and commencement. 

Even with this reassurance, the thought of not being able to go back to Merrimack to finish out the year is devastating. And the same goes for college seniors across the country. The thought of graduating was already bittersweet and now the possibility of ending the semester early makes it even more so. The past four years were filled with hard work, dedication, growth, and so much more. We were ready to celebrate. We were ready to commemorate all that we had accomplished with friends and family. We were closing an important chapter of our lives. Graduation was getting closer and closer and now the opposite seems to be happening.  

Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors; enjoy the time you’ll still get at Merrimack because when people say that college is the fastest four years of your life, they aren’t kidding.   

Despite the outcome the next two weeks bring, I am so grateful for everything Merrimack has given me. People always talk about it’s community and I’m happy to say that the first impression I got at Accepted Students Day in February 2016 held true for these past four years. Seriously, how often do you go somewhere and someone holds the door open for you even when you’re still 20 feet away? There are so many things that make Merrimack special, and I know I made the right decision for me when I chose it as my home away from home.    

There’s nothing I’d wish for more than to be back on campus able to finish the semester as I imagined it, and I’m sure most students feel the same, but the safety of our community, friends, and family is priority. The remainder of the semester and our college careers may be uncertain for now, but despite the outcome, we deserve to be proud for our past four years.  

To everyone who has directly been affected by Covid-19, or who has a family member fighting this disease, our thoughts are with you and we stand with you in hoping for a day when this becomes a thing of the past. We thank our nurses, healthcare workers, and first responders who continue to risk their own and their families lives to take care of others.