Olivia Nelson is a journalism senior. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mustang News. 

This was not the ending we planned. It certainly is unlike anything we expected. A spring quarter full of promise and celebration, in a matter of weeks, has become a source of grieving. Any words of consolation I could try to offer would fall flat.

COVID-19 has swept the globe, and in its undercurrent has taken weddings, sporting events, paychecks and worst of all, many lives. And yet, this does not cheapen our own losses — milestones that were a lifetime in the making.

Athletes lost Senior Night. Club members lost their final events. Organizations lost their last formals. We lost our last moments in the Cal Poly classrooms. We lost senior bar crawls (which might prove to be a win for our kidneys). We lost our last Farmer’s Markets and our moment to stand in front of our peers and supporters to receive our diplomas. We lost the opportunity for proper goodbyes with the places and people we love. Still, though, this abrupt ending doesn’t diminish our years here.

What we have learned in the classroom, and what we have learned about ourselves, can help us to navigate these uncertain times. Our 25-35 hours of studying wasn’t all for nothing, folks.

Philosophy taught us that “man is affected, not by events, but by the view he takes of them.” (Epictetus)

Science taught us that reason prevails.

Psychology taught us to embrace adversity by expecting the unexpected and making peace with it.

Literature taught us to “… accept that things happen. It may not be for a reason, and you may have no control over it, but the first step to getting through it is accepting what it is.” (Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut)

Math taught us that we were thrilled to leave calculus in high school. Hey, we can’t all be engineers.

All-nighters in Kennedy Library taught us that we can survive anything.

And, most importantly, Bull’s Tavern taught us not to (bull) sweat the small stuff.

Seniors, this wasn’t the ending we dreamed up. But still, our college years together have been a dream — a dream full of late nights in the library, loud nights in the dorm, drunken nights with lifelong friends, nights that are now stories that we will tell for many years.

I look forward to the day we can walk across the graduation stage, crack open an 805 beer and hug one another properly — no social distancing required. Even in the toughest of times, we are resilient. And still better than UCSB. Ride high, Mustangs.

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