The photo was kindly provided by Sarah Snavely.
Sarah Snaveli, future mechanical engineer, celebrates her 21st birthday. Birthday with a family visit to Zoom.
Olivia Sesso turned 21. Birthday 300 miles away from how his family blew out the candles on his cake.
Sesso, who still lives off campus in Auckland, was born on October 5. April 21st. But with bars and liquor stores closed statewide and on campus, she and the other Pitt students are finding other ways to celebrate their 21st anniversary this spring.
My friend Zack came in, we ordered food and drinks and mom and grandma both baked cakes and made a FaceTimed for me, says Sesso. They put candles in the cake, sang for us and blew out the candles for us.
Before classes were cancelled and the students had to go home, some of them had detailed plans to celebrate their birthdays in Auckland. Noah Hake, on 23 and 21 March, had originally planned that his whole family would fly to Pittsburgh to celebrate with him.
On the weekend of the 23rd all my brothers and sisters agreed to fly to Pittsburgh to celebrate, a finance student said. Assuming we were back on campus in time, we went to the Hofbräuhaus because they have really good beer there.
Other students also had concrete projects. Sarah Beaki, a budding mechanical engineer, plans to visit the exhibition on the evening of the 4th. April at a gala meeting of his student union, then go to bars with friends to celebrate his official 21st birthday at midnight.
My roommate works in Texas, so she had to fly away for the weekend and come with us for the formalities, because she is also in my club, she says.
In order to remain responsible in the midst of the pandemic and to maintain an effective social distance, she celebrated this only with her neighbors.
It was a party in a small apartment, she said. My friends bought jewelry in the Amazon, and we hung them up to relax for the night.
Even Zack Liu, who was killed on the 6th. On April 21, he turned 21, he couldn’t celebrate in person with his family – for security reasons he decided to stay in his apartment in Auckland.
My parents currently work in China, so I could go to other parents’ houses, but I didn’t choose it because I have a lot of work to do here at school and it’s unreasonable and dangerous to travel, Liu said.
For Liu, his birthday is a normal day, especially since his daily life is over.
I don’t even think I’m going out, and frankly, I don’t have anything special to do on my birthday. It’s almost the same for me as any other day, because I’ve been doing the same every day for the past two weeks, Liu said.
Although he can’t plan a big party with his friends or family, Liu said he doesn’t mind celebrating a discreet birthday.
Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of birthday parties. Sometimes I think they’re stressed because everyone wants you to have a better day, he said.
Snavely was also disappointed by the situation, but like Liu she said she had never been a big fan of her birthday, and the circumstances caused by the pandemic made it a bit harder for her to cope.
It was disappointing, especially since everyone kept reminding me and saying they felt sorry for me, said Snavely. I don’t really like to celebrate my birthday, so it’s not as important to me as it is to others. It was just nice to invite some friends to show they care about you.
For Sesso, however, the virus destroyed the years of patiently awaited birthday expectations.
You wait until you’re 21, and then when it’s midnight, you sing Happy Birthday, and then everyone goes to the bars, she says. You’ve waited so long, and then it’s like we can’t, and now we have to wait until it reopens, and it’s not even your birthday. It’s not that exciting.
Although the students have had to reduce their birthdays because of the virus, some are planning to celebrate them again in the near future. Heca hopes that one day, in the near future, he can party with his family in a bar.
Because of the virus I can’t make any concrete plans right now, but I think I can look forward to a summer in which everything will be open again, Hake said. I just want to go to a bar.