By Damon Markiewicz

By: Irene Rotondo @irenerrotondo 

I believe that every class, by principle, has their own unique college experience. The Class of 2022 is no exception — we are now the only class that was here for a full year and knew what Springfield College was like before COVID, and the only class that has fully gone through the pandemic and come out the other side. 

But I still couldn’t be more grateful for what I’ve gotten from Springfield College as a member of that class. 

Irene Rotondo, middle, with Communications/Sports Journalism Professor Marty Dobrow, left, and School of Arts and Sciences Dean Rachel Rubinstein, right.

I chose Springfield College in 2018 because, when I visited campus and walked into our student Union building, the door was held open for me. When I walked past Cheney, the students outside dressed in maroon sweatshirts smiled and waved. And, when I met my advisor, Marty Dobrow, for the first time, he welcomed me into the Communications/Sports Journalism major with open arms, ready to push me into becoming the best academic and personal version of myself. 

As a member of the Class of 2022, we have all collectively experienced much loss during our time at the school: we lost one of our own, Jake Silver, our freshman year. We lost Connor Neshe, a first-year, during our sophomore year, and that year’s ending was then extinguished by COVID. We fought to keep our mental health afloat alongside our transcripts all of junior year, treading carefully amongst each other and doused in masks and insecurity. And, we lost the beginning of our senior year to COVID, too, missing out on some of the unwritten traditions most classes do enjoy during college. 

But I think Springfield College has given us much more than what we’ve all lost. When we were collectively suffering through the grief that is losing young lives in your own community, we raised each other up in the only way Springfield College people know how: we smiled at each other through the tears, we still held the doors open, and we took the time to pause and listen to one another. 

COVID took so much from us as a class, but Springfield College made sure to cut those losses and build us up from it. We gained the perspective to not take anything for granted because nothing is promised — except that the College will always endure. 

The Class of 2022 was made to feel special still — our professors taught us with enough compassion that showed they cared about what we were going through, but with enough fire to show they still cared about our futures. Though there were days of absolute darkness during COVID, the College always shone through as a beacon of light for people to have something to look forward to. 

It’s extremely difficult to put into words exactly what makes Springfield College so different from other institutions, but I think that’s part of it all. Its undefinable qualities that bring such a strong sense of community to all who attend are part of its rarity; if you walked into any building at the school and asked someone what their personal philosophy was, their immediate response would be Spirit, Mind, and Body. Our Spirit comes from how we treat ourselves and treat others, our Mind comes from the way we educate ourselves in and outside of the classroom, and we take care of our Body physically as the vessel to the rest of the triangle. 

I am so honored to be able to call myself an alumna of Springfield College and to have the privilege of graduating beside some of the most amazing people I’ve met in my life. The College has given so much to my classmates and me, and I know we will forever cherish the tumultuous, beautiful experience that was our past four years. 

Cheers to the Class of 2022.