I think by this point it’s safe to say that this is the weirdest semester of any of our college careers, in part because the whirlwind of last semester has somehow become completely normal. It doesn’t feel strange to sit in front of a computer screen in my bedroom to go to class anymore, and I’ve gotten used to only waking up five minutes before my earliest classes instead of an hour before like I would in person.
Now that my midterms are over and I’ll be home for finals before I know it (earlier than I expected, since I moved my flight up two weeks on a PMS-induced impulse not too long ago, and I don’t regret it one bit), I’ve suddenly had a lot more time to think about what this semester has actually been like for me. Because no matter how much we try to fit it into a normal-shaped box, we aren’t fooling anyone.
Most of my life this semester has been taken up by my classes. Not only am I taking five and a half classes this semester, but all the clubs and social activities that would usually take up the rest of my time have been put on hold. Performances have been cancelled, bonding activities are all online (if they happen at all), and there isn’t as much to discuss at whatever meetings do happen. I spend most of my time doing homework, because other than that, there really isn’t that much to do.
I do talk with my friends sometimes, whether it’s weekly Zoom movie nights or meals on campus in the Usdan tent or an exciting weekend trip to Target, but it doesn’t happen nearly as much as before. Most of my social interactions happen on social media, and that comes with its own set of problems: Besides the usual Twitter drama, everyone pretends to be doing better than they actually are, which makes it all the harder to realize that everyone is struggling. I find myself looking at my fanfic friends posting regular, incredible updates and wonder why I can’t be as productive as they are, even though I have no idea what they’re going through offline.
From here on out, I don’t think anything interesting is going to happen, at least school-wise. (I have absolutely no clue what’ll happen in the wide world outside Brandeis University, and I try not to think about it.) Until I go home, I’ll go to my in-person class on Mondays and Wednesdays, go to orchestra on Thursdays, make Hannaford runs on Tuesdays and Saturdays, get COVID tests on Mondays and Fridays, and spend my carryover points at Dunkin four days a week just like I’ve been doing since August. Most of my excitement is going to come from the books I’m reading and the shows I watch, internal satisfaction instead of the external kind that comes with seeing friends and performing like I used to.
And I don’t know what next semester will bring, either, but I think it’ll mostly be more of the same. It’s a little ironic, really, that during a pandemic, college is more routine and uneventful than it ever was before. I think I’ll just have to get used to it.