Maeve Mcleod '21
Being a Global Citizen at BC in the COVID Era
At the beginning of my abroad experience to Melbourne, Australia, my mother gifted me a journal to help me remember my supposed semester-long journey in the southern hemisphere. From my journal entry dated March 10, 2020, I write, "Abroad programs in Italy have all been cancelled and rumors of other shutdowns are circling. I’m personally not that worried…" Hindsight being 20/20, I read this quote now and simply laugh. Ten days after that entry, I found myself back in JFK airport after forty hours of travelling, and suddenly felt the worry of the whole world around me. Now, six months later and still in the midst of a pandemic, the entirety of Boston College returns to the Heights.
After living on campus for a week now, my mentally separated Boston College life and COVID life have officially converged. Having not been on campus since the end of the Fall 2019 semester and quarantining at home in Connecticut for the past few months, I had never previously associated BC with this new way of life: designated seating areas in classrooms, lines outside the Margot Connell Recreational Complex for scheduled workout times, masked visits with old friends, and losing the perks of the senior experience that I and the rest of the class of 2021 have patiently awaited the last three years. However, humans are resilient to change and college students even more so. Despite the global pandemic, Boston College students’ habits have simply adapted to a COVID world. For example, BC’s intense workout culture has not diminished in the slightest as a result of coronavirus -- arguably, it has increased. Running around the reservoir now includes a mask and a predetermined appointment at the gym is mandatory to get a workout in. Amazingly, students have taken these changes in stride. Adapting back to virtual classes for another semester and responding to regular COVID testing requests are just more examples of the modifications BC students have taken in order to safely return to campus.
As an International Studies major, the necessity of being a global citizen is at the forefront of my mind, especially during this time. These ideals are already clearly reiterated in my IS Senior Seminar with Professor Willard, despite the class only having met in-person once. While the seminar itself is focused on the intersection between the climate crisis and religious studies, my sixteen-person class was able to quickly connect our first lesson to events outside of the BC bubble. Seeing the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on low-income households and essential workers who do not have the economic capacity to quarantine at home for months without work, my seminar saw similarities to this in our lesson about injustices in the climate crisis. Just as the pandemic reveals inequalities across the globe, the negative effects of climate change unequally impact marginalized communities. While it may be easy to get stuck in the BC bubble, it is crucial, especially as IS majors, to recognize how our experiences can be connected and impacted by real world events.
Throughout this experience, what I’ve learned is simply that life goes on. While I would be blind to claim that nothing has changed, I am surprised by the ease and quickness of the transition I have experienced this past week. I do recognize that life may just as easily change again tomorrow, in two weeks, or in six months, and these changes will surely be met with the same resilience that Boston College students have exhibited since that fateful day in March. And I may also read this piece back in a month to laugh and think to myself again, “Hindsight is 20/20!” Yet for now, no one can truly predict how the rest of the semester will play out, but it is in our power to control our own actions and adapt by keeping the Boston College community, and the greater good, in mind.
Maeve McLeod '21
The author is is a senior from Connecticut double-majoring in
International Studies and History. She is currently working on a
history thesis about the role of women in the American Civil War.