Vanguard University Senior, Yesica Manilla, shared a bit about her personal experience and how the pandemic effected her university experience. Yesica is a senior at Vanguard University majoring in Liberal Studies. She is a part of the ITEP program and is programmed to graduate in the Spring of 2022. While she is extremely excited to graduate and begin her career as a teacher, she has graciously agreed to take a stroll down memory lane and share her pre and post pandemic experience at Vanguard.
While having already attended Vanguard for 3.5 years, Yesica shared some of her favorite things about Vanguard, “I would have to say that my favorite thing about Vanguard is the ratio of students to professors. I really appreciate and love how easily students can build genuine relationships with professors.”
Yesica continued by describing how she recalls the atmosphere/environment at Vanguard pre-pandemic, “The atmosphere here at Vanguard pre-pandemic felt very tight-knit. It felt like I knew everyone, it was a very nice feeling. I especially remember walking from class to class and ALWAYS waving and greeting people as we passed by, something that doesn’t really happen now…”
I asked Yesica what the quarantine looked like for her. Yesica passionately sat up and replied, “It was terrible for me! It was so hard to enjoy because I felt so isolated in my room all day. Learning through a computer was so hard, especially with the rigorous classes I was taking. On top of that, the initial move out of Vanguard when the pandemic started was just very abrupt, so that transition was hard. Not to mention having to find a new job back home once things started opening up again….. that was annoying.”
Fortunately, since we’re back on campus, I was able to ask Yesica how she felt about in person classes.
She replied, “I was looking forward to it a lot because I was excited to get back in the groove of things. I missed having basic human interactions. I was also looking forward to in-person classes. I missed it and I feel I learn much better in person rather than through a screen.”
Yesica was transparent with the post pandemic VU culture, “Honestly, it’s really different. It’s so weird now because I walk into a room and I barely recognize any faces. It doesn’t feel like it used to feel… I don’t know what it is, but I do miss the way it felt pre-pandemic.”
I asked Yesica if she felt cheated out of her Junior and Senior years by attending online.
She said, “100%! So, in the second semester of my junior year, I came back on campus hoping things would feel a little more normal, but that didn’t happen. Vanguard felt like a dead town and it seemed like nothing was open or really going on. Like I mentioned before, I can’t quite put my finger on what’s so different this time around, but Vanguard doesn’t feel the same in my opinion.”
When asked if she had anything else to share Yesica responded, “Yeah, I hope the undergrad students get to experience VU the way I did pre-pandemic. I don’t mean to speak negatively about Vanguard because I would never, I love this university, but I do hope the University becomes more intentional about maybe hosting more all-school gatherings for students to attend. I think there’s still a disconnect within the community here at Vanguard and it needs to be fixed. But overall, I love Vanguard, its professors, and my fellow peers.”