This week, for the first time in a year, I attended class in person. I had been waiting for this moment since I left campus last March at the beginning of the pandemic. I had not been on campus since then, so it felt almost surreal to be back with my classmates and professors. After a year of feeling disconnected from campus, I was so excited to finally feel like things were getting back to normal.
My first week back in person, I’ll admit, did not fully live up to what I hoped for, but it was still exciting. I love the welcoming, peaceful atmosphere of our Thousand Oaks campus, so just setting foot on the campus was enough to rejuvenate my eagerness to finish out the semester. In many ways, it felt like the first day all over again because I had never met the majority of my professors and classmates before, except for on zoom. I did not realize how nerve-wracking it would be to feel like I was starting all over again until I got there. The first week of classes is always a little intimidating for me no matter the circumstance, and the first-day jitters definitely hit me extra hard this time around. After not being in a classroom for a year, I found myself nervous to go back.
Once I attended my classes for the first time, my nerves relaxed quite a bit, but the experience still did not feel quite comparable to classes pre-COVID. The biggest difference was the lack of students in the class. Most of my classes only had a couple of people in the room while the rest were online, which made for an interesting class discussion format. It was definitely difficult at times for my professors to balance the online people and the in-person people. I knew it was going to be a challenge given that we were trying to change the format of our class halfway through the semester and that even students who might have wanted to be back in person would not find it worthwhile to move back to campus for a month. This made it difficult for me to feel like I was actually back in class, but just like everything else during COVID, it’s an opportunity to adjust to a new situation. I liked the fact that I could finally meet my professors that I had not met yet and the couple of other students that were also in person. Part of what makes CLU special is the personal connections between students and faculty, and I really felt that this week.