Seniors say goodbye: My advice to incoming students


Derek Harper, Staff Reporter

My senior year here has been full of ups and downs thanks to the pandemic, but it’s opened my eyes to various aspects both in and out of the academic setting. While I think classes should’ve been in-person in some form this quarter, The Observer worked great online with the regular meetings. The Observer proved that a rare class here or there works almost perfectly online. One thing, however, I was disappointed in was how eerie the SURC felt.

The restrictions the school put in this year negatively impacted the college experience. I used to go to the gym there. Before moving off campus, I’d meet friends for dinner and go to movies there sometimes. To the freshmen reading this, assuming campus is fully open in the fall, take advantage of the SURC. It’s a place to spend time with others, take part in fun events, make new friends and have a good time.

I was disappointed in the one person per table guideline at the SURC and not being able to gather in groups to hang out there. Whether it was watching a game or grabbing dinner with a group of people in past years, it was always fun to hang out and have a good time. 

It was tough to see it so empty this year. The past two years I lived on north campus and it was always nice to meet with friends at Panda Express. However, this year it was only grab and go. I understood that the school and county had slightly different regulations. I also understood this was likely due to things the state might have said. But it just made no sense to me with how open other places in town were at the same time.

Another disappointing aspect that confused me was how we couldn’t attend a sporting event on campus, especially outdoors. Yet, it was proved to be a safe thing to do at other schools including Ellensburg High School. We couldn’t even have more than one student media reporter attend games. Attending games for your school is something that can be very enjoyable and brings everyone together. These things honestly made me want to avoid campus as much as possible.

Probably the biggest disappointment was the fact that they decided so early to push graduation online when it was proven elsewhere it could be done safely. It just made no sense that they did that when they had so much time to find ways to have at least a modified ceremony. We weren’t asking for much in being able to walk across the stage and hear our name called. We didn’t even need any speeches or a crowd, but just to be recognized for all the hard work we’ve put in to get to that point.

For the incoming freshmen, do your best to enjoy your time here, especially if any classes are online. But one thing that must be enforced is to put academics first because I’ve seen students struggle with this more than once. The vast majority of university level classes aren’t easy, but you can learn if you truly want to. 

However, it’s easy to get behind or miss assignments if you aren’t on top of your classes. Write assignments down in a notebook or planner because it helps you to stay on track, especially with online classes. Once you’re in a good routine with your classes, make sure to get out and socialize as much as you can.

When it comes to getting out and socializing there are more options than you might think. This is especially true if you or a friend has a car and you’re able to go on day trips on the weekend. 

Assuming students will be able to attend sporting events on campus starting next fall, you should definitely go. Cheering on your school with friends and meeting new people is always a great time. Besides sporting events, many students also go up in the hills to have bonfires which is always a good time and great place to meet others.

There are also multiple resorts and Sno-Parks that students like heading to during the winter. Students also have the opportunity to go on excursions with CWU Outdoor Pursuits and Rentals as well as rent gear from them. 

Once spring quarter rolls around, students tend to flock to what they call People’s Pond or The Pond. The formal name for The Pond is Irene Rinehart Riverfront Park. On a warm spring day, you can find students playing volleyball, enjoying the water and just having a good time.

If there’s one key takeaway from this, it’s to put academics first and then get out and live in the moment. Enjoy every minute because it goes by faster than you might think.