Allen Chen
SHA 22
Pi Delta Psi – Kappa Chapter 

This past year was unexpected for all of us. In my situation, I had to leave the United States entirely to reunite with my family last March. I spent March to November of 2020 in Vancouver and then flew to Beijing where I still am today.

It was difficult saying abrupt goodbyes to all the seniors. However, as soon as most people started leaving Ithaca, we were already making plans to all meet up again once the pandemic was over. Being away from Ithaca for so long also posed challenges in terms of still feeling connected with my friends and brothers at Cornell. What has helped me feel closer are our class/year video calls, playing video games together (especially Animal Crossing last April), and some Netflix watch parties. Recently, my chapter also completed a successful fully virtual Spring Recruitment. Though I can see that an in-person recruitment would be more ideal, doing it in a virtual format allowed me to “hang out” with my brothers again and at the same time get to know some of the guys participating in recruitment.

Compared to the difficulties of keeping up socially, adapting to online school felt more natural. My professors at the Hotel School were very understanding in our initial transition, and since then they have been very accommodating for my difference in time zone. My extracurriculars have also managed to adapt well to an online setting. Our Multicultural Greek and Fraternal Council (MGFC) executive board managed to plan multiple community and unity events over the past year, and my pre-professional clubs continued to consult, recruit, and interview as usual. This spring, being my third semester online, I’m already well adjusted to an online curriculum. Thanksgiving and Winter breaks were very helpful for avoiding burnout, and now I am making sure to take breaks and stay healthy, both physically and mentally. 

The past few online semesters were definitely a surprise, but I don’t feel like I have wasted my time. I’m looking forward to finishing this semester strong and getting back to campus for the fall semester.