Since the spring of 2020 SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus, has upended lives and caused a rethinking of nearly all social behaviors in the United States. This paper examines the ways in which the pandemic, shutdown, and gradual move towards “normal” have laid bare and obfuscated societal pressures regarding
running out of timeas it pertains to the residential university experience. Promised by movies, television, and older siblings and friends as a limited-time offer, the “typical” college experience is baked into the U.S. imaginary, reinforcing a host of notions of who “belongs” on campus along lines of race, class, and age. Fed a vision of what their whole lives “should be”, students who enter a residential four-year college are already imbued with a nostalgia for what is yet to come, hailed, in Althusser’s (2006) sense, as university subjects even before their first class. The upheaval of that subjecthood during the pandemic has raised important questions about the purpose of the college experience as well as how to belong to a place that is no longer there.