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Mental Health

Finals Week: Reflecting on a Crazy Semester in Crazy Times

Things I would have expected my sophomore year of college to have: fun football games, lots of clubs and meetings, tons of classes and walking around a beautiful campus. Even though this semester was far from my expectations with online classes, postponed football and few on-campus experiences; however, I don’t think this semester was a complete waste.

As finals roll around, it’s made me stop and think about what came out of this semester. Even though it wasn’t the super-involved semester I thought it would be, a lot of good things came out of it like:

1. I still got involved, just virtually! This semester was a lot of big milestones for me because I got involved in my music sorority, my college (the College of Music) and still participated in the Marching Chiefs (socially distanced, of course). I was also able to expand my writing, editing and researching skills. This semester I even declared a second major!

2. I was able to appreciate how much truly goes into a friendship! Without in-person classes, it was so much harder to maintain and make friendships because a lot of the small interactions are what help you get to know people. This semester I knew that it was on me to maintain my friendships by reaching out, maybe getting coffee (outdoors, of course) or just texting to say “hi” to make up for the lack of time before and after class.

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3. I saw more nature parks around the Tallahassee area! This semester I went to Providence Canyon in Georgia, Florida Caverns State Park and Falling Waters State Park among some places in Tallahassee. They were all so beautiful and unique, especially the Canyon. I did my first ever hiking trail with my roommate!

4. I still had so many new experiences this semester! I explored more places in Tallahassee like the Railroad Square Art District and local coffee shops. I went to the Tally Cat Café (twice) and participated in virtual ensembles with people across the country! I also got my little in Chiefs and met more sisters in Sigma Alpha Iota! This semester also came with the experience of apartment living and I learned how to cook and bake different meals. Plus, we had some roommate dinner nights where I cooked for all four of us.

5. I had time to reflect on myself. Even though this semester was still busy, I had more time to reflect on myself. I had time to think about my goals and my relationship with my major(s). I’ve also had so much time to reflect on myself as a musician and writer and where I want to go in the future. I’ve also reflected on the current social atmosphere and attempted to determine where I stand on most matters and learning and researching how to help make a positive change with the skillset that I have.

Overall, this semester has been one for the books even though it’s as crazy as crazy gets. It was hard and there was burnout and Zoom Fatigue, but there were also wonderful moments like milkshakes from Sugar Rush and socially distanced Chief's performances. These last nine months of quarantine, limited access to public spaces and online schooling have been anything but ideal, but there have been some really good moments in those nine months, too!

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Brenna Miller is a Woodwind Performance and Editing, Writing, and Media major at Florida State University. She loves reading, writing, and, of course, playing the flute.
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