Editor’s note: The Virus Diaries is a series in which Mainers talk about how they are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Gina Pardi is finishing out her senior year at Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., back home in Falmouth via remote learning. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Like other college seniors across the nation, Gina Pardi was looking forward to the final months of her time at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts.

Then, while on spring break in Miami, Pardi got a message that the college was closing and shifting to remote learning for the rest of the academic year because of the coronavirus outbreak. A neuroscience major, she is now back home in Falmouth with her family, trying to adjust to online classes.

It hasn’t been an easy adjustment for Pardi or her classmates.

“We are missing out on so many end-of-the-year celebrations,” she said, “and I did not have a chance to say goodbye to many of my friends in college.

“To make matters even worse, I am a runner and my very last outdoor track season was canceled, so this has been a very tough adjustment for me all around.”

For Pardi, the hardest part was not being able to see many of her friends one last time before everyone went home.

“They gave us a week to come and get our stuff so I wasn’t able to see a lot of people,” she said. “I saw some of my main friends, but there were a lot of others, people that you didn’t see all the time, but were acquaintances who you met and made a difference in your life. I missed the chance to say goodbye to them.

“It’s kind of a lot to process. I felt the rug was pulled out from me. I didn’t have closure. College has been the four greatest, and challenging, years of my life. And I felt it was a very abrupt and sad way to end it.”

She was a distance runner for the Wheaton women’s track team, competing in events from the 800 meters to the 5,000.

“Running is just such a big part of my life, it’s where I made my best friends, it helped me mature as a person in college,” said Pardi. “It made me a more confident and capable person, and I had great relationships with teammates and coaches.

“That’s part of the reason this has been upsetting. I felt college was going really well academically and socially. I felt everything was clicking and then all of a sudden it was gone.”

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