From seeing their peers to attending chapel, students talk about what they miss most after COVID-19 prompted a semester cut short.
It’s true what they say about not appreciating what you have until it’s gone. Being away from Azusa Pacific makes us realize how much we miss some of the mundane things about the school that we took for granted.
But more importantly, we have come to realize that we miss the place that over time, we have learnt to call our home. So without further ado, here are five things about APU that make it the special place that it is:
1. Cougar Walk
Cougar Walk is the epicenter of APU’s social life. It’s where you encounter friends and congregation. It’s always bustling with life as students meet to get food, hurry to classes or head home after a long day.
“What I miss the most about APU is seeing the lovely faces on Cougar Walk and saying hi to my friends,” said Ivy Lu, a junior communications studies major. “I don’t get to do that a lot over Zoom or FaceTime. I think when I go back to APU I will treasure those interactions a lot more.”
Aside from being a social hub, Cougar Walk is accompanied by a concoction of smells at all times of day, be it the smell of brewing coffee or the aroma of a freshly-made pizza. There is something beautiful about how all these noises and aromas combine for the perfect, heart-warming atmosphere.
2. Living Areas
For many, the living areas are a sanctuary from all the chaos that ensues on campus. It can be a great place to invite people over to experience fellowship, or to cram in all-nighters with roommates.
“My apartment is a good place to go on campus to just relax, get away from everything and do my homework,” said Joshua Roland, a junior computer science major.
Each living area is associated with a different season of student life. It’s impossible to not think of the dorms when recalling freshman year memories, or remembering what it feels like to have the privilege of having your own kitchen for the first time in your life as a sophomore. Our junior and senior years are linked to the lavishes that University Village has to offer, including having your own washer and dryer, minus the part where we have to scramble to find parking spots.
APU is known for mandating students to attend chapel three times a week. Most students complain about chapel, but having it removed seems to have left a significant hole in everyone’s lives.
The ability to go to chapel and worship at a large Christian school is a unique experience that few get to enjoy. There is nothing like going to an evening chapel to unwind after a long day. The worship, the messages and the friends are what make these worship experiences so unique.
Evangeline Nguyen, a junior honors humanities and music and worship major, said she misses chapels.
“My [worship] team was supposed to lead the day they cancelled it and they told us ten minutes before,” Nguyen said. “I miss being around others in that community.”
There is a beauty in reaching out to hold a stranger’s hand and knowing you share something in common. APU puts God first and the opportunity of spending our mornings in collective worship leaves a warm feeling in our hearts, despite all the complaining.
4. Faculty and Staff
The intimacy of APU enables us to build close relationships with our professors, who greatly impact our lives and help mould our worldviews over the time we spend in college.
This relationship is evident through the way in which our professors have worked hard to adjust to an online class format and still remain available to students.
“Our professors have been so gracious and have been adjusting so well. The faculty are so supportive. My RD has been reaching out with our staff and making sure we’re okay,” said Natalie Pagan, a junior honors humanities and English major.
The faculty and staff who invest their time in order to better our student experiences also play a role in shaping our fond memories of APU. The school’s charm lies in the willingness of trolley drivers to make small talk, or the warmth we are greeted with when we walk into the student offices that are scattered across campus.
“I know community is such a buzzword at APU, but being removed from it makes you appreciate it more,” said Nguyen.
It’s cliche, but community is one of APU’s cornerstones for a reason. What draws people into attending APU is the campus culture that they get a taste of on their visits. Probably what is missed the most about campus life is the chorus of smiles, laughter and hellos that constantly echo throughout campus.
“The thing that I miss most about APU is the people,” Pagan said. “My roommates, my friends and my residents. I really miss being around them and seeing their smiling faces. All of the laughter, the conversations and dredging through things together. I know it is such a cliche, but the community is really what makes APU.”