Editorial: Reflecting on changes in GV’s culture


GVL Archives

As members of the “Lanthorn” editorial board, several members are graduating in just one month or have only a couple of semesters left to go.

It’s exciting to know that we will soon accept our diplomas and start living “real” life, but it’s also a period of nostalgia and reflection on our time at GVSU. 

When most of the “Lanthorn” editorial board members walked onto GVSU’s campus for the first time three or four years ago, there was a sense of eagerness and excitement to start our post-high school careers. 

Walking into freshman-living centers was filled with excitement and some anxiety. Community centers are filled with new faces and possible friendships. The campus felt much bigger than it actually is, as thousands of students packed “freshman land.” 

Perhaps the most memorable thing about our first years at GVSU was not knowing what was to come next. Some of us hadn’t picked our majors, didn’t know what classes we were interested in or what part-time jobs we wanted. The best thing of all was that this didn’t seem to matter. 

It was a combination of ignorance and hope that made us okay with not knowing. No matter what we would end up deciding about our futures, we knew those choices weren’t a burden to us at that moment. 

This was only enhanced by the sense of community that prevailed across campus. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, dorm buildings, dining halls and even walkways were filled with fellow college students. There was a sense of togetherness and community that was dashed by COVID-19 restrictions as we entered the middle of our college careers. 

As upperclassmen, tasked with covering campus news and events, we have observed a distinct shift in GVSU’s campus culture. 

All the stresses and decisions of life were thrown to the forefront of our minds as we worried about the health of our families and ourselves, online classes, canceled campus activities and a lack of sporting events. The things that define the “college experience” and motivate many students to go away to college were gone. 

COVID-19 also hindered the amount of resources some of us needed or wanted. There were no longer opportunities to join clubs and make friends, find new hobbies you didn’t know you’d love or converse in a community and learn more about ourselves. 

This year has seen a return of some community and normality, but with a twist – all the stresses of our careers are more present than they’ve ever been before. There’s a sense from the older members in this newsroom that opportunities have been lost and the stresses of life are intense. 

Soon, many of us will have to find new jobs, move out of Allendale or the state and finish paying off college loans. We have to learn to pay our own taxes, find our own health care and pay our own car insurance. 

The next month will be stressful. So will the next years and decades. We knew we were going to have to grow up and become adults. However, we thought we had more time to be young, make mistakes and find our passions. 

There were many positives of our college careers despite the challenges and upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The “Lanthorn” in particular has been a passion in our college careers and we’ve made several close friends. As staff writers and editors, we have covered countless events across campus. We are lucky to have been exposed to so many different experiences. 

However, we can’t help but wish we did more. The COVID-19 pandemic affected us all and we’ve all had to adjust. Hopefully, campus will return to what we remember it as: a community, a place to try and fail, learn and discover what you are truly passionate about. 

As we retire from GVSU, thousands of new students – and even new “Lanthorn” editors – will experience a different GVSU than many of us on the editorial board will remember. We hope that these students will take advantage of every opportunity to engage in and outside of the classroom at GVSU.