My soul incurred many a change this summer. One critical event, of course, being unable to conceal its stake in the blame: packing up and heading off to college. It was no Toy Story 3 send off—although, I’d be comforted to know my toys are doing just fine—but now I’m wondering if my experience, which I am soon to put on this page, lines up with what Andy would have gone through. I hope these words will serve as effective tips or foreshadowing for all my younger friends, now high school juniors and seniors, of the calm, distant past.
The negative aspects of this first, eighth of my collegiate career are few in number. The homework load is mightier. A large portion of the free time I once had is elsewhere and occupied with more pressing matters. However, these are trivial matters, and since it is college, I feel more motivated to complete the necessary work in my quest for higher erudition.
However, college has dealt one significant affliction causing me some amount of consternation—homesickness. Being far from home is definitely not fun. Even if my college was a reasonable drive from my house, I still would have moved into a dorm room and hoped for new beginnings. Yet, the idea of being able to come home for dinner once a week sounds avidly comforting.
Nonetheless, I am grateful to be studying on campus this semester. For my younger friends, I would recommend putting one or two close-to-home colleges on your list, even if you’ve been strongly opposed to the idea. You never know.
When I began writing this article, I challenged myself to stray away from mentioning the craziness that has been on many Americans’ minds for the past several months—although, I am now finding this an unfair task I’ve imposed on myself. These circumstances have changed all our lives in several ways, and I assume it has altered the first-semester experience of myself and my new classmates.
We are lucky to still be on campus. That is because we are being extra careful: wearing a face covering whenever outside of our dorm room, staying six feet (or two meters*) apart, avoiding large gatherings. While there is some debate as to the effectiveness of all the new rules, I think most if not all of us who chose to study on campus this semester have grown accustomed to the rules and are still able to enjoy ourselves. (I like to remind myself we’re lucky to be where we are regardless!)
Most, but not all, classes are accessible online through Zoom sessions. Mainly because most students in the college are not physically on-campus, and many classes cannot afford to reduce capacity in order to make physical distancing within the classroom possible. While the closure of last school year made me an experienced digital learner, it is still hard to look at the computer screen for both homework and classes for an extended period of time—every day. However, while I do agree that it is harder to pay attention on Zoom classes, it is not impossible; I am learning a lot and enjoying a few of my online courses, such as economics and music. While I long to return to the in-person classroom full time, at least our education has not halted completely.
In terms of free time, there aren’t many ways to expend it given the circumstances. (I have an irrational fear that I am only burning 50 calories a day over here, but on the bright side, I’m watching what I eat better than ever before.) For better or worse, the college homework load is much more than high school, but since it is college I have more motivation to put in the effort; and since there are fewer class periods, I have more time, too.
It has been an abnormal start to the school year, but it has also been a nutty year all together. I pray you are doing well and able to deal with whatever hardships you may be facing. In between your Zoom classes, focus on what is good. Until next time, this is Charles, signing off.
*A pet peeve of mine, if you’ll allow: I’m sure you have also seen many advertisements and signs saying “stay six feet or two meters apart.” This mathematically makes no sense. The direction is phrased as if the two figures are interchangeable, implying they’re equal. However, two meters is really six-and-a-half feet in magnitude. I understand they want a simple phrase, and there’s a simple solution: Use two yards instead of two meters. Two yards actually equals six feet, which means the phrase would make sense if two yards was used because the “or” means “however you want to refer to the distance you have to keep between yourself and other people.” If two meters is more accurate than 6 feet, than say “six-and-a-half feet or two meters apart.” How it is being used now is synonymous with saying “stay six feet or six-and-a-half feet apart,” or my professor saying “yes, the assignment is due on Thursday and on Friday.”