On March 13, 2020, University of New Mexico President Garnett Stokes announced that the University of New Mexico would be extending its spring break until April 5 in an effort to reduce COVID-19 transmission on campus. Weeks turned into months as the pandemic forced all classes to an online-only format and campus buildings were deserted. The university we knew, filled with a familiar buzz of minds eager to learn, had become a ghost town.
Now, nearly a year and a half later, students have finally returned to campus for in-person classes, even if this return may not look like what campus looked like before the COVID-19 pandemic.
How does one “return to normal” after a year that was anything but normal? With the last year full of increasing political turmoil, deepening socio-economic divides and most people collectively trying to navigate a new world of Zoom meetings and COVID-19 safety protocols, 2020 was an interesting year at best.
At its worst, though, the year was full of anxiety and fear of the unknown. Each day brought with it new restrictions, new outrage and new tragedies. Ultimately, this was a year for loss and for grieving, and this has unfortunately made its way to 2021 as well.
Now, we find ourselves inching closer and closer to the end. While the light at the end of the tunnel may seem to be getting dimmer with recent increases in cases and deaths due to COVID-19, we know now that this will not last forever — there is still a light out there somewhere.
Through all of this turmoil, let's take a moment to appreciate just how far we’ve all come. Take a moment to honor the sacrifices made to get to this point and all of the things we’ve learned. For even in a world where technology seems to be making most parts of our lives digital, we can still find solace in seeing one another face-to-face.
John Scott is the photo editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @JScott050901