May 1st, 2020, 09:34 AM

Curtain Call: An Epic Semester

By Adaeze Nwokolobia
End Signs
AUP students reflect and weigh in a rollercoaster of emotions.

At the beginning of the semester, AUP was still in the throes of a bitter nation-wide transport strike that overwhelmed Paris and its surrounding suburbs making daily life movement difficult. People found themselves constantly getting to work or school late after suffering the crowded buses and trains. It seemed like there was no end in sight. 

Transportation strikes progressed, and life became harder than usual. Considerably so for students with commitments like attending classes regularly and participating in off-campus extracurricular activities, all of which included quick transportation. But, no sooner had the strike been called off, a creeping slow pandemic surfaced. It seemed like AUP could not catch a break, and as Meredith Miller, an AUP student once remarked, "There's something always going on in Paris and at AUP." 

From conversations in the online learning chats to numerous Corona Diaries entries, it seems most students have strong feelings about the semester and its quickly approaching end. However, what has it been like for new transfers? Or departing seniors? A newbie and soon-to-be graduate, both at the end of the spectrum of college years, shared their thoughts with Peacock Plume, diary-style. 

Alessandra Campbell, senior, History, Law, and Society. 

"You try to forget about the fact that ur restrained to four white walls of an apartment by trying to stay busy."

Peacock Plume reached out to Alessandra Campbell, a graduating senior to hear her thoughts on the semester's end. Her narrative statement evokes a hauntingly sweet combination of nostalgia and optimism.

"The end of the semester like for most seniors is bittersweet. I’m excited that a chapter of my life is coming to a close yet, I can’t enjoy this with my friends because of quarantine. It’s hard staying focus in classes when your homies aren’t in class next to you.

Well first off I was praying on my life that this virus wouldn’t get out of hand and we would keep going to school. Sadly this didn’t happen, and we were forced to move online classes. Selfishly I was hoping this wouldn’t happen because it's my last semester and I wanted to explore more in Paris and spend time with my friends. Moreover, I actually like attending my classes. So this change was actually hard for me. Classes online were hard to follow at the time with professors changing class times and trying to almost self teach yourself certain things. But the whole AUP community had to make the best out of such a situation. I had to push my emotions aside and focus on my mental and physical health.  It is my mental strength that gets me through the tensions of facing the unknown future. In the words of my mother, just keep it pushin' ".

When asked about her plans post-graduation, Alessandra says she has no idea anymore as her plans, especially her internship, got overhauled by the pandemic. She is not alone in this, as the sweeping corrosive pandemic effect has caused lots of organizations to pull back internships as well as job offers in tremendous economic management efforts.  However, while there might be a dearth of job opportunities, there's still all the time to figure the future out.










Sunset at Arc de Triomphe. Credit:

Mina Seif, Transfer, Marketing.

"It was not my first time in Paris but it was my first time living anywhere but home."

Mina Seif, a spring transfer, shared her feelings about the semester and its hectic ending, with the Peacock Plume. As a first-timer at AUP, Mina's entry evokes optimism for the future. This comes as no surprise to Mina as a transfer student who is used to the rigor of campus life and many different experiences.

"I’m pretty bummed about the end of the semester, I really miss all the cool people I met and ending it without seeing them really sucks. Everything’s a lot harder now too with everything being online.  I was feeling really good about all my classes and everything else, and now I’m not doing so hot. As a transfer student, it’s been pretty good given the circumstances, but I mostly feel bad for my friends that were studying abroad because this was there one chance to go to school outside of the US. Paris was definitely a big shift for me coming from a beach town and I wish I could’ve explored it during spring instead of just seeing it from my window. I’ll get the chance when I come back I guess. It was a pretty good start I think. "

Mina is still currently in Paris, but she has a flight booked for the end of finals week.  She is heading back to San Diego, her home. Returning to AUP in the nearest future is still on her agenda.

As the semester comes to a close,  AUP has witnessed unprecedented changes. For one, summer classes are being re-organized to accommodate extenuating circumstances. In a campus-wide email, the registrar's office announced that AUP summer classes would be prioritized for seniors. Others can only register case by case basis, depending on available class space. Class withdrawal deadlines had also been pushed to the end of the semester after all classes had been moved online, as well as the option for credit/no credit. This semester left seniors without a graduation ceremony, and transfer students with little on-campus experience. AUP has had to manage virtual classes, apocalyptic lockdown, and emergency home escapes. Now, the semester is at an end, looking back, there is no doubt, it has been an epic one. 

Eyes forward, summer calls.