I know I’m certainly not alone when I say this: What a relief it will be to return to campus this Fall semester! After 17 months of online classes and separation from my closest friends and classmates, I’m really excited to have in-person classes. While we certainly aren’t returning to the “normal” we were all used to, I’m just relieved to have a physical environment for learning and socializing.
Of course, online learning wasn’t easy for anyone, and while some may consider me lucky for not having siblings who could’ve made it more difficult, this past year and a half has been incredibly lonely for me as an only child. I found myself often mourning all the potential memories I was losing and wishing things would be different, which would give me flashbacks to the depressive loneliness I experienced a few years prior.
Thankfully, I was still able to socialize with my friends online, from Facetime and Zoom hangouts to Discord game nights. Honestly, I had no understanding of how Discord worked before classes moved online last March, and now I have my own Discord server where anyone can stream games and hang out together! I’m so grateful I was still able to meet new people and make new friends despite being all virtual. Plus, it helped knowing I wasn’t entirely alone in the way I was feeling; my friends were a great support system for me and vice versa.
Another activity that got me through “quarantine” was poetry. I’ve always been a writer at heart, but I noticed that isolation was making me feel unmotivated in the creative field, so I decided to take a Creative Writing: Poetry course in the Fall 2020 semester and I absolutely loved it. While I am considered an “experienced poet,” I’m always open to learning new things, and this course was a great motivator for me to drill out more poems. I loved the class so much that this past Spring semester, I took another course with the same professor, that focused on studying the works of three U. S. Poet Laureates and writing even more poetry.
Taking two courses centered around one of my creative passions definitely helped me interpret, understand, and convey my emotions and thoughts during the height of the pandemic. As a result, I’d like to share a poem I wrote, titled “Revival,” which was my way of simultaneously expressing the despair and hope I felt throughout it all:
I want to live again,
Feel the breeze weave my hair like a basket
Made with such delicacy it can even carry the sun home with me.
I want to breathe again,
Hear the siren song of the ocean
Inviting me to dance on the shore,
That holy ground where you must first say a prayer,
And Whisper, "thank you" to the earth
As you leave your mark upon the sand.
I want to feel again,
Run with the clouds under the heavens
Calling me to join that free spirited flight
Along the open fields outstretched before me.
I want to live again,
To see the world not from a screen or an image brushed with color.
It feels like so long I've been stuck in this space,
Suffocating because there is no air, no light, no space
To live in nothing but this,
This space I've been confined to.
But one day I will live again.
One day I will see that world and feel it embrace me
And when that day comes, I will not let myself be trapped again.
I will not let myself die.
I will live again,
In that world so dear,
So dearly missed.
Life isn’t exactly back to the “normal” we all were used to (and even took for granted). Even so, it’ll be nice to step foot on campus and see people again. It’ll be nice to bump into friends on the way to class, hang out in the student union again, and have class in an actual classroom setting with the chance to meet new people again. While this past year and a half have been incredibly unpredictable (and the rest of the year still is), I’m looking forward to all of these things I missed. What a relief it will definitely be to return to “that world so dear, / so dearly missed” again!