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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Mapping Hawk Hill

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ILLUSTRATION: CASEY WOOD ’23/THE HAWK

We asked first-year students at St. Joe’s, who have never attended a pre-pandemic campus, and only know it as a place of masks and brown paper dinner bags and tents and often empty common spaces, to capture the campus from their perspective. 

Our ask is based on Bloomberg CityLab’s Coronavirus Map Project, which was published in June and features maps that people all over the world created to document their city, neighborhood or home spaces as impacted by the pandemic. 

Of the more than two dozen maps we received, we find first-year students grappling, as they do every year, with trying to get to know their new home. We see sunrises and study nooks and running paths. We see exhilaration and loneliness, desires for connections and the relief of solitude. We see students coming to terms with a semester on Hawk Hill like no other, but still finding their way. 

If you’d like to contribute a map to our series, please contact Giana Longo ’22, Features Editor, at [email protected] for submission guidelines.

By Allie Miller ’24: 

Since I’m a freshman, the only St. Joe’s I know is one filled with students in masks, six feet apart, the absence of sporting events and days filled with Zoom calls. And so, I drew the three places on campus where I feel like I can escape the pandemic.

“Is the pandemic ever going to be over? Am I sick? Could I be? Am I doing enough? Whether I’m in my bed or in a class, my thoughts never turn off.”

My dorm is the place where I feel the safest and most comfortable because I am almost always alone there. The loneliness can be comforting whenever I realize I don’t have to worry about anyone else except for myself. I don’t have a roommate, so it’s easy to hide away, staying put for online classes, homework and even meals. 

But when I realize it’s time to leave my room and get some air, I walk to the St. Joe’s Bookstore. I get lost for a bit too long, always convincing myself that retail therapy is a real thing. I can go by myself and browse each item I like (which honestly, is most of them) dozens of times, or I can go with friends to kill time between classes. I spent a week and a half making nearly daily trips just to look at one sweatshirt until I finally gave in and bought it. It’s a cream-colored, waffle style crewneck that just reads, “Saint Joseph’s University” in a red, vintage font. And now, when I slip it on over my head, I am overcome with a feeling of comfort and warmth that tells me my purchase was worth it.

“As the colors fade, I watch the sunset through the gray bars that overlook the John W. Smithson Baseball Field and a sea of trees. I forget about social distancing and masks and getting sick just for the time it takes for the sun to set, and I let myself feel at peace.”

On my map, I also included my thoughts. No matter where I am on campus, they are always with me. Is the pandemic ever going to be over? Am I sick? Could I be? Am I doing enough? Whether I’m in my bed or in a class, my thoughts never turn off, so I felt it was important for them to be included on my map. 

The place on campus where the pandemic feels least present, though, and where I feel most at peace, is on the sidewalk behind O’Pake Recreation Center. Every once in a while at sunset, I sit against the wall behind the dull, gray railing and watch the blue sky transform into a mixture of orange, pink and yellow. 

As the colors fade, I watch the sunset through the gray bars that overlook the John W. Smithson Baseball Field and a sea of trees. I forget about social distancing and masks and getting sick just for the time it takes for the sun to set, and I let myself feel at peace.

Miller is an international business and Spanish double major from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Allie Miller’s Map

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