If you had told me a year ago that my first year of college was going to be completely remote I wouldn’t have believed you. I thought by the end of the summer 2020, Covid-19 would be gone and we would all be going back to living normal lives. My hopes, unfortunately, did not amount, and yet, in a way, this year has been one of the most interesting.
I started off the first semester at home with my family of six. My other siblings were also at home at the time using the internet, which made classes a little bit chaotic. My mom, an elementary school teacher, was also adjusting to the ways of Zoom. Being home with us all in the house had its ups and downs. My younger sister, brother, and I would go on hikes together. On some days when my mom would have days off, she would drive me to the rail trail for my running class and would hold my phone when we did stretches. By staying home this fall, I realized how much I truly appreciate my family and the chaos within it as well.
The second module of the first semester rolled around and I was overwhelmed. In between my classes I was working shifts at Yankee Candle. I don’t think it was a smart idea to take on classes and a job during the holiday season, but I went into the final stretch working hard and about to pass out. From having an office hour meeting in the backroom and late night class five times a week, I was out. The stress from classes, work, and the horrible winter in New England only made my mood worse. I wanted a break so badly and I felt ready for something new and exciting.
Then it was announced: students at Mount Holyoke could return in the spring! I was ready. Trust me, so ready. My family was basically begging for me to leave because they knew how much I needed to get out of the house. As I packed my things, I felt an unexplainable feeling of being ready to leave the only place I truly knew. The minivan was packed and loaded.
And here I am, at MHC. I am so grateful to be here that despite the numerous restrictions, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I finally got to meet my friends from my orientation group, freshman seminar, and history class, not to mention meeting my friends on my floor. I am so happy to have such great friends to support me through this semester. It truly has been a highlight for me as last semester it just felt like I was alone. But when I’m here, I know I have people who will support me. If I’m having an off day or when I need a night of fun, they are all there, all in on a night or day adventure. I love the spontaneous trips to Amherst for cookies or to Northampton and hikes every day.
This year, as terrible as it has been, has made me realize two things. I love my home, but I also love my home away from home. I don’t think I could have made it this far without the people around me telling me to keep pushing onward. This year has made me stronger and prepared for what is to come with love and support on all sides.
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