BY KYLE BRAVIN
For college seniors, there is a bittersweet feeling of trying to balance the excitement of graduating and the distress of saying goodbye to a place you called home for the past four years. I looked forward to, yet dreaded, walking across that stage to grab my diploma on May 31.
A journalism and electronic media major and baseball player at University of Scranton, I saw my life change on March 11. Just like on every other Wednesday this semester, I was walking down to The Times-Tribune office, but that morning I got an email from the Rev. Scott Pilarz, U of S president, telling me my team’s spring break trip to Florida was canceled and that I would be going home and taking classes online until at least after Easter because of the coronavirus outbreak.
With a mix of emotions going through my head, I tried to remain hopeful that everything would be OK. But a day later, I found out that my final baseball season at U of S would be suspended until after Easter as well. Once again, I tried to stay hopeful, but on March 17, my head coach sent a text that made my heart sink: the Landmark Conference had decided to cancel all spring sports and was thanking us for everything we had done for the program.
Everything I had come to love — something my life has revolved around — disappeared in a matter of days. I went from scouting our rival Susquehanna to wishing I could face them just one more time.
As a senior athlete, I knew my time was coming to an end, and I was going to prepare for it when May came around. Now, my last game of competitive baseball ended up being one against SUNY New Paltz where I arrived in the eighth inning because I had class that night.
Arriving in Scranton in August 2016, none of my fellow seniors could have ever imagined something like this happening. This journey that we all started can’t be finished the way we expected it to. I should be going to class, getting lunch with my friends and getting ready for practice. I should be stressing about the test I have coming up in a few days, with little time to study because I’d be at the field all weekend. Instead, I’m sitting in my New Jersey home.
We should all be doing a lot of things right now, whether it’s going on vacation, playing a sport or just working a job. It’s not easy to change your plans or adjust your routine, but we all need to do our part. We need to focus on the bigger picture so we can continue our lives in the near future.
In times like this, it is important to appreciate what we have. It’s not easy for the class of 2020, but this is bigger than us. We all need to do our part to protect all those we love.
In a time with a lot of negativity, we all need to reflect on what we had these past three-and-a-half school years and all of the positives that came from them. I feel fortunate to have been a part of the U of S baseball team and class of 2020. Coming into college, I had no idea what this place had in store for me, but I am glad I made the decision to come here.
There’s a reason why saying goodbye to college is so hard for graduating seniors — it’s the memories we’ve made with the people we’ve met.
My days of living in Scranton may be coming to an end soon, but this small city in Northeast Pennsylvania will always have a place in my heart. Thank you Scranton for these past nearly four years. Once a Royal, always a Royal.
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