This year has been filled with ups and downs. A lot of learning and change has had happened. Being an international student is never easy, but being so far away from your loved ones during a pandemic is even more challenging. You either didn't get the chance to go back to school and did classes thousands of miles away with a crazy time difference, or you went back to school, but you don't know when you will have the chance to go back home.
I'm one of the students who had the chance to go back to school but don't know when they will go home. Going home was never easy before due to the long flights and connections, but the pandemic made it 10 times harder. Most flights got canceled, and travel bans were put in place. A trip that only involved one connection now involves three. I was lucky enough to manage to go home over winter break, but it was not an easy trip. Months before I was supposed to fly, my flights were canceled. Every time I booked it again, it got canceled, or they put me on a flight that was impossible to make! I've never heard someone manage to get on their next flight during an international connection with 5 minutes to your next flight when you land. It is impossible! You stay 10-20 minutes sitting on the plane waiting to get off the plane. With all the flights getting canceled, you better not miss your flight because who knows when the next one would be.
If traveling wasn't enough the stress of classes changes is present too. At Lynn University, classes got put into block scheduling. You either have one or two classes for four weeks. You learn a whole semester with content in 4 weeks! This is insane! Classes are 2 hours and 30 minutes every day. It's so much information to receive in one day; you might go over one or two chapters a day in class as one day equals one week of the regular semester. Some students like this blocked scheduling, and others don't. Personally, I don't like it as I don't learn things fast enough. I need time to understand. I also learn better in person, but I have two days online with the block schedule and two days in person. I guess two days online is better than entirely online.
Making friends during a pandemic is challenging. Everyone is either online or living off-campus. Most clubs and organizations have been canceled for the time being. During the hard times, it's hard to find someone to rely on. Family is far away, friends are far too, or they don't understand. When you get homesick, you can't go home for the weekend. It's a whole day trip to go home, and family can't come and visit due to travel bans.
This year has taught me that you can't rely on anyone; you should only rely on yourself. Not everyone might be around or willing to help. You can always go to family, but sometimes the family is too far.