Coming back to campus for the fall semester was not an easy decision for me, and I imagine it was just as difficult for the thousands of other students confronted with returning to college. In the past six months, it feels as if life itself has turned upside down. Everything we once accepted, everything we once knew, seems to have gone out the window––and now we’re left rebuilding our world in a completely new format––attempting to live life as we once knew it while navigating our new reality: a global pandemic.
So, as I was confronted with the decision to return to campus, I was unsure of what to do. I wanted to be with my friends, I wanted to live in Boston, I wanted to resume my college education in person, and I wanted to once again have the sensation of freedom and individuality that comes with moving away from home. However, I was also extremely anxious about the state of the world. How would things work? How could I ever feel comfortable socializing again? How could I live miles away from my safe home with my family, whom I had grown even closer within the months of quarantine? Leaving home, in a sense, seemed a task more daunting than when I had left for college as a freshman; nervous and oblivious to the path ahead. The world I’d have to navigate this time on my own seemed much more challenging than before; I didn’t know what life would be like, or if I’d regret my decision to return to school. Yet, eventually, I came to the conclusion that I had to. As anxious as I was about the state of the world, one thing I knew for certain was that I couldn’t hide from my fears or I’d never get over them; I needed to confront them in order to regain my sense of freedom and independence. Even more importantly, I realized that I was getting far too comfortable in my environment at home. My comfort was becoming complacency, and that felt dangerous.
[bf_image id="q8ug58-7x30d4-2fi5cu"] Now that I am back in Boston, I am so thankful that I made the decision to return. Life on campus, as expected, is inevitably different. The streets are emptier, masked faces are everywhere, and affectionate reunions are now exchanged for quick glances and small waves from six feet away. Yet, there is something revitalizing and refreshing about being back. It feels healthy to have returned to my college community with my peers. It feels right to be living on my own again, as much as I love my family, making my own decisions and acting not as a teenager, but as an adult. I have to manage my time and schedule again while juggling my personal life. I am responsible for taking care of what I need to do as an individual, and although it is more work than being home and playing hooky, it is worth it.
So, although I continue to get anxious from time to time––because our world is currently in an ever-changing flux where nothing is certain––being back feels right, and I can only hope I continue to feel that way. If the pandemic has taught me anything, it's that nothing is set in stone. So, while that is slightly terrifying, it's also incredible. We all have the power to continue to change our fate, our lives, and our path every day. Life back on campus isn’t looking too bad.
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