Imagine my gratification as a senior walking into the Commons last week without a mask on. There are times you know will come eventually, even if they seem a lifetime away, and this spring is finally the one. Campus will be playing the rest of the semester Mask Off. I was visibly in shock as I swiped into Commons without that barrier behind me. My freshmen teammates who noticed me just didn’t understand, they haven’t known anything different.
It’s been years since things have felt normal because of the pandemic. The mask mandate finally being lifted was the first time in a long time I’ve felt real normalcy. Real OGs remember the napkins ON the tables- not to mention the salt and pepper too. Class of 2024 and beyond knows nothing of ice cream dispensers or stir-fry stations and wouldn’t be able to fathom self-service in commons. It was a choice time to be a Maroon pre-COVID.
Not having to wear masks in class or Belk is a whole new level of relief. I feel like it’s been full circle, with my class of 2022 seeing the coming and going of COVID. It’s sort of a morbid silver lining to graduating and going into the real world.
Even still, I like to see people still wearing them when they feel the need. The world will never be fully over COVID. Prevention is still key to having the privilege of freedom. President-up-next Dr. Frank Shushok should have a blank slate to start off with!