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The back-to-school period of September, consisting of syllabus week and homework-free nights, is officially over. We are now three weeks into the 2021-2022 school year, and the worst of the workload is definitely ahead of us. As I get back into the groove of being a productive student — or, at least, a semi-productive student — I am also getting back into the groove of being an in-person student. 

After spending a year and a half in the online classroom, it is certainly jarring to get back into a real classroom with real people all around me (and a teacher who can look me in the eye and know when I haven’t done my homework). I myself have been experiencing some residual anxiety in the wake of the pandemic, as I have been pretty much isolated from strangers for an entire year of college. The time away honestly made me forget what it was like to be a student at BU. Being among the throngs of students passing in between classes on any given day, searching for a table in the GSU when there are crowds of people moving to get food, and sitting in a classroom surrounded by 20 other students (which is small for our school) are all experiences I had pretty much completely lost from my mind. 

It feels like an eternity has passed since the days of listening to my lectures while sitting happily in my room with a candle burning next to me. Now when I have to go to the bathroom in the middle of class, I have to worry about making a scene when I get up to open the door. What if I interrupt someone while they’re speaking? What if I knock something off of my desk and everyone looks at me? What if I come back into the classroom and there’s something on my butt and everyone knows except me? As these questions race through my mind every time I have to pee, I usually come to the conclusion that I’ll just hold it. 

Not only have the bathroom anxieties returned, but they are joined by a slew of fears that were buried deep in my mind while sitting in front of my computer for a year. Fears of speaking up in class, fears of being late to my next class, fears of doing the homework wrong or saying the wrong thing when a teacher asks me for an answer. The past two weeks have essentially been a tidal wave of old anxieties flooding back into my mind all at once, on top of the usual adjustment to back-to-school. After drowning in the stress for a bit, I’m starting to get used to this life again. 

Of course, being in person isn’t all bad. It’s great to be able to talk to my classmates and make friends again. Sliding into someone’s private chat on Zoom is not something I took to doing often, unless I had an academic-related question, which wasn't the most appealing way to make friends in class. Being surrounded by other people is actually comforting when I’m not freaking out about it. It’s nice to be back in college again. 

Where BU’s 18,000-strong undergraduate population really only felt like the few people in my classes last year, I am quickly remembering just how big this school actually is. Though parts of that are very scary, I am reminding myself that other parts of it are a really great thing. Happy back-to-school, people. Good luck out there.

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Catherine is from Boston MA. She is a junior in the College of Communications at Boston University. Her hobbies include reading and taking walks, and she is also a member of BU's sailing team. Catherine has been a writer for Her Campus since the fall of 2020, and recently joined the editing team this past fall. She is currently pursuing a major in journalism and a minor in English.
Ava is a pre-law senior at Boston University studying English with a minor in history. She loves traveling, drinking excessive amounts of hot chocolate, creative writing, and skydiving. You can find her on instagram @avazing !
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