I don’t want to wind up blogging, like, four separate times about the upcoming start of my junior year of college, but forgive me for being a bit repetitive on this topic. Today isn’t the first post about it (see this one from a little while ago), and I don’t think it’ll be the last one, either. This day next week will be the last day of my summer, which… whoa. That went very, very quickly. But we won’t talk about that now. Today, I want to talk about a unique circumstance surrounding my upcoming moving day and the way it’s affected my preparedness for said day to arrive.
The last time we spoke about my college’s re-opening plan, I had no idea when I was going to be moving in or what the plan was for re-opening; I hadn’t read any detailed announcement of how campus life would look; the only thing I knew for certain was that I was going back to campus. Since then, a lot of that has changed and developed. I know much more now about what school is going to be like once I go back there— but there’s only so much you can learn from reading things online.
Here’s what I know. There will be regulations. ¾ of my classes will be online. You may not visit your friends in their dorm if they don’t live in your building. You have to make appointments to go to the dining hall, which seems like a small thing, but I am very food-schedule-oriented. Most social gatherings will be encouraged to happen outdoors, which will be okay for now, but what happens when it gets cold?
I know you’re probably reading this like, yeah, sounds like a pretty normal college reopening plan. Which it is. I think my school has done a really good job. The problem is just this: I was used to college. I was comfortable with college. I’m very much not looking forward to having to adjust to college all over again.
I wouldn’t call this going back to square one with regard to preparedness for college. I know full well, by now, what college is supposed to be like, what this fall semester would look like in a normal situation. I’ve done it twice over, and I am very comfortable in my school environment. But for very obvious reasons, my school environment is not going to look the same when I get there next weekend as it did when I left it.
I have dubbed it ‘corona college.’
Now, I get it— we’re all in the same boat. I know I sound like one of those commercials that you get tired of, but we are. And you could argue that oh, well, every college student is going through an unexpected change, and you’ll all be adjusting together! Which is true, to a certain extent. I’m just not sure, and won’t be sure until I get there, of how much this whole corona college thing is going to affect me personally.
I’m someone who takes a really long time to adjust to changed circumstances. I especially have difficulty adjusting when I think I know the way something works and then it turns out it’s going to be different after I’ve adjusted to it being a certain way. For example, while I was in high school, they changed around the class schedule (in other words, the structure of the school day) no less than four times between the time I started and the time I graduated. This was a relatively minor change in the grand scheme of things, but it still meant that I had to re-adjust to a new system in an environment that was previously familiar to me… multiple times. And it was difficult.
This is going to be much more difficult, and I think it’s at least good that I’m aware of it. Wearing a mask in public isn’t by any means some huge, earth-shaking thing that’s going to damage my college experience, because… it’s just a mask. I get it. I’ve already been wearing masks at work and whenever I go in public for the past, what, five months now? It’s not really new. But what is going to be new is being at college and not being able to do a lot of things that are characteristic of college.
I wish I could tell my freshman year self, look at me now! Because the thought of being upset on account of extracurricular and social activities being different would have been so wild to me two years ago. But extracurricular and social things mean something to me now, now that I’ve grown so adjusted to the way my life looks (looked) at school. The fact of the matter is that I’m not going to be able to have as much fun on campus this semester with all the regulations and restrictions as I was starting to have right when we got sent home in the spring.
And no, I don’t mean, like, partying. College parties have never been my scene. But spending time with friends sure is, and so is the freedom of getting to just go where I want to when I want to, or going to in-person classes. All of those things are going to be limited, when I arrive on campus for junior year. And that’s going to be an adjustment which could affect my experience.
Make no mistake: I understand that these are first world problems. I don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of school reopening politics (I can’t believe this virus has become political, but that’s a United States partisan politics rant that does not belong on this blog), but the fact that my college is letting us come back to campus is a very good thing, because doing college from home was just not working for me. I just very much hope that the re-adjustment isn’t going to put me back into a tough place in terms of being comfortable at college.
Because I was having a really good time, to be honest. And that felt nice.
But you know what they say! I actually don’t know what they say. I thought I’d have a clever saying to put here. The point is: there are always challenges. I’ll be fine; I just might have an interesting time. We’ll call it going back not to square one, but square two.
Next Time: Things-in-review posts return, to round up summer 2020.