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To say the very least, 2020 has certainly been an unusual year. Marked by a deadly pandemic, I was forced to graduate high school and begin college at a safe distance from my peers. For the majority of summer, I was unsure if I would even be able to begin my first year at the University of Virginia on its historic Grounds. Despite the fact that all of my classes were virtual, I was ultimately allowed to move into my cramped dorm at the beginning of September. The months of uncertainty had heightened my nerves. I was fearful that my college experience during COVID-19 would not be what I had envisioned over the past four years, and I was even more scared that I had made the wrong choice in attending the University of Virginia.
However, my doubts and fears slowly faded away as I immersed myself in club activities and schoolwork. Upon moving on Grounds, I joined a political advocacy group that furthered my passion for shaping a future that is brighter, cleaner, and more equitable for all. In doing so, I was also able to meet people that I now could not imagine my life without! Furthermore, I took a leap of faith in choosing which foreign language to study over the course of my college career. Rather than continuing to study Spanish, I decided to try my hand at American Sign Language (ASL). Over the past semester, ASL and its accompanying Deaf culture have developed from a mere unknown language to a discrete passion of mine. In fact, I am even considering a minor in ASL and Deaf Culture!
Reflecting upon my first semester at the University of Virginia, my college experience has transcended beyond what I previously envisioned for myself. To me, college is about cultivating new passions while fostering passions that already exist. As I balance myself between the new and old throughout the coming years, I will always remain grateful to the Madison County Education Foundation (MCEF) for making my dreams of higher education possible.
– Audrey Cruey, MCHS Class of 2020