Editorial | We somehow made it through midterms and are grateful

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

It has been more than one year and seven months since Pitt first shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We were all stuck in the monotonous day-to-day routine of waking up five minutes before our classes started and attending them from bed on Zoom just one year ago today. It felt like there was never going to be an end to this pandemic. There was still no vaccine. We had all just endured a summer of cancelled plans, coming up on eight months of pandemic life.

We were all skeptical when Pitt announced that this fall semester would be in person. With the first two weeks online, it seemed just like a continuation of the previous year of online classes. Many people just figured that it was only a matter of time before we’d be back online, right where we started, with case numbers rising and Zoom classes resuming. But to our surprise, we’ve made it to midterms, our vaccination rates are high, cases have stayed relatively low and most importantly, our classes are still in person. 

Our lives have, for the most part, returned to some semblance of normalcy. We attend classes, see our friends, go to concerts and parties like normal college students — albeit we wear masks, and get tested and quarantine when needed. But that is a small price to pay to mostly have our lives back. 

It’s hard to be grateful during midterm season. Most of us are ripping our hair out trying to figure out a way to somehow pass exams without losing it. We are cursing our professors for assigning that paper this week instead of just waiting. The month of October is a month of a collective meltdown on behalf of the near 20,000 undergraduate students at Pitt. How can we possibly be grateful for anything when life seems so miserable now? 

We forgot how ridiculous the lack of temperature control is in Cathedral of Learning classrooms. We forgot how hard it was to work on those tiny desks in the Nationality Rooms. We forgot about the chaos of attending those huge lectures in David Lawrence Hall and being captivated by watching some student in front of us playing Minecraft. 

We didn’t get to attend Fall Fest and wait for hours because the artist scheduled to perform was late last year. We didn’t get to pull all-nighters in Hillman studying with friends, and we didn’t get to attend all of those wonderful, disgusting South Oakland parties in people’s sweaty, dark basements. 

But all of these things are the things that make being a college student feel real, and since March 2020, it’s felt near impossible to feel that way. We can be thankful that the Pitt community banded together for once to stay safe. We can be thankful that so many of us got vaccinated, and that people wear their masks and quarantine when needed. We can be thankful that today, this week, this month, we are finally able to feel like real college students again.