One year later: Syracuse University students share their last pre-pandemic photo

From the WRBL Internship Assignment Desk

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WRBL) – No masks. No social distancing. Indoor dining in a packed restaurant. Meeting with large groups of friends.

The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Two days later Syracuse University students travelled home for what they thought would only be two
weeks, but ended up being the rest of the semester.

Three students shared the last photo they took before they went home.

Maddie Canelli, an economics and international relations junior, was volunteering with her club
for local non-profit We Rise Above the Streets in downtown Syracuse.

“Every Saturday – at least pre-COVID, I’m not even sure how often they do it anymore – they
hosted these volunteering events,” Canelli said. “The volunteers would get together and make
sandwiches together and then bring them to another place to give to the Syracuse homeless
community.”

Margo Moran, a Political Science and Communication and Rhetorical Studies sophomore, was in
a theater with her First Year Players cast mates. They had just found out their show, “9 to 5,” was going to be cancelled.

“If you look closely I’m crying a lot,” Moran said. “This is probably the last time I was in a
group this big which is a little weird.”

Corinne Ferrer, a sophomore Acting student, was at a restaurant with her roommate.

“This was at Pastabilities like the day before we were sent home and that was the last time I
actually ate in a restaurant before the world shut down,” Ferrer said.

The way we view the world will now be “Before COVID” and “After COVID,” but Canelli, Moran and Ferrer found bright spots in that – in what they’ve learned about themselves and new
things they’ve come to appreciate that they took for granted before.

“I’ve learned I’d spend a lot of my time just spending time with other people for them, but not
me, so I’d get drained really easily,” Ferrer said. “I kinda just learned who was truly there for
me, who I truly liked to hang out with instead of hanging out with people to check boxes.”

“I learned how to be comfortable to be by myself,” Canelli said. “It’s kind of sad but I guess it’s
a good life skill.”

Canelli added she misses having class friends who she’d hang out with pre-pandemic.

“They’re just people you hang out in class with and bond over your work together with because
now all my class friends are online and it’s not as fun,” Canelli said.

Ferrer is looking forward to having the freedom to explore new places with friends in a postCOVID world, while Moran is looking forward to meeting strangers.

“I feel like I only talk to the same people a lot of the time, which is great and I love the people
that I talk to, but I miss meeting a stranger and bonding with them over a weird mutual thing and
building those connections,” Moran said.

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