The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

Cannon Falls High School

College campuses go dark


Caitlyn Verhasselt and Kayla Moynagh

Molly Bowen (lower left) and Elizabeth Reinhardt (right) have been adjusting to the U’s new virtual learning plans.

By Emma Conway, Cannon Falls High School

Just 42 minutes north of Cannon Falls, the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, boasts the sixth largest enrollment numbers in the U.S. The second largest school in the Big Ten—falling 10,000 students shy of Ohio State University—has become a beacon for many young people across the country. So when the U suspended in-person classes for the rest of the spring semester on March 11 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many were left heartbroken, including two former CFHS grads: Molly Bowen and Elizabeth Reinhardt. Both die hard Golden Gophers, one a freshman, the other a junior, have been adjusting to the new reality.

Attending the school was a no brainer for Bowen.

“I really wanted to experience a bigger university, and the school itself is fairly prestigious, so the U was the perfect fit for me,” the 19-year-old emphasized.

And even though she had only begun her freshman year in the fall, Bowen admitted leaving the colossal college campus cast a prominent shadow. The human physiology major and future pediatric doctor has already packed up her dorm and moved back home. Likewise, Reinhardt was recently sent packing.

But the 20-year-old’s story is somewhat different from Bowen’s. Although Reinhardt too was attracted to the U’s electric D1 atmosphere, the 2017 CFHS grad was supposed to be studying business and marketing with a minor in leadership abroad for her spring semester.

In Reinhardt’s eyes, “The historic culture, iconic fashion, and incredible food are a few reasons as to why I decided on Italy.”

However her bright times in Florence, where she honed in on cultural language and fashion courses, was disappointingly cut three months short as the city became a COVID-19 transmission hot spot.

Now each of the maroon and gold gals have transitioned online.

“Some days I have to log in to a virtual meeting for three hours, listening to a professor lecture, and other days I am required to watch some videos on my own,” Bowen explained.

Reinhardt’s classes are similar. For her, three hour courses have been condensed to one hour, which has been a dreary reminder of the reduced semester.

Yet, even in dark times, both have found some light. Bowen believes her pocketbook will benefit in the long run, while Reinhardt maintained, “I’m reading more, taking the time to practice yoga, learning to draw; I’m just trying to make the most of this situation, despite it’s inconvenience.”

Everyone has been impacted by the current health crisis, especially those seeking a bright future on college campuses (regardless of school size). Two Gophers, such as Bowen and Reinhardt, are banking on in-person classes next year. They can’t get their lost freshman year or semester abroad back. But hopefully, come fall, universities, like the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, will go about operations per usual, enlightening all in attendance.

This story was originally published on The Lantern on April 8, 2020.

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