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Being Back on Campus: Overwhelming or Just New? One students opinion

(Photo courtesy of UMass Lowell) Students are back in person for the fall semester.

Jessica Daniliuk
Connector Staff 

I think everyone can agree that we have had the craziest past two years. With that has come the greatest number of changes I’ve likely ever experienced in my life. One minute, we were doing in-person classes like usual, then we left our classes for a little break, but as the days went on, that break went on even longer. It was so ambiguous whether we were going back to school. It switched from we weren’t returning to school, to going back to campus in a few months and then we weren’t again. As Michael Scott would say “snip snap snip snap.”

In a physical classroom, I went from being a senior in high school to a sophomore in college. As a result, going into this school year, I had no frame of reference for what college would be like in-person. I heard stories from friends and family, but that can only take you so far.

Being virtual, especially when most of my friends were still on campus, I was longing to be on campus more and more each day. This gave me very high expectations, and since it became one of the only things I was looking forward to, I had a very specific idea of how “on-campus life” should be. Honestly, my expectations were impossible to meet, so it’s not necessarily a negative thing that they haven’t been met.

The first two weeks of being in-person were very exciting. Being on your own in a new environment makes you feel very adventurous. I went to all the opening events and talked to as many people as I could. I feel like I did a lot of things I normally wouldn’t, mostly because I wasn’t given these options with virtual college. All the social aspects of college were great and I feel like since we were all denied any of it for over a year, everyone was very nice. We were all on the same page, especially with learning how to make friends again. This common ground made me feel less crazy and overall, more comfortable.

I’ve felt very “rusty” when it comes to different aspects of in-person learning. With  virtual classrooms, I was used to waking up a minute before they began and sitting comfortably in my bed. I also got used to people not really participating in class, and we all know the difficulties that came with working in breakout rooms. In this aspect, I’m very happy with in person learning. I feel like I am actually connecting with people and I feel like the work is being distributed equally. It is nice to not feel the entire weight of an assignment fall on you and to not have to experience the awkward silence when everyone is muted with their cameras off after a teacher asks a question.

The hardest adjustments for me have been moving from class to class and the workload in general. I’m lucky enough to have all my classes on one campus, but I have found it hard getting ready for said classes. Being not the best at time management, I’ve been having to wake up extra early to try and look semi-decent for my classes. I also do miss some of the leniency that came with online school.

I expected the college experience to be like a movie, which of course is wishful thinking, but I am a creative writing major. The pandemic still scares me, but I am hoping things will get better in a few months and that I will feel comfortable going to more events.

Overall, I am very happy to be on campus, as I am sure many other students are. Learning is much easier in person than through the computer screen. Although I sleep way less then I used to, I am happy that I am finally having the full “college experience.”

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