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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

At this time last year, my somewhat-pessimistic self would never believe I’d be writing the following sentence: I’m starting an article about in-person university life from the 7th floor of the University Center library, looking out over 5th Avenue as the afternoon light pours through the windows in front of me. Ahh! 

As a current senior at Parsons, the pandemic cut my in-person experience short during my second semester of sophomore year. Of course, like most of us, I was devastated to be forced off campus and on Zoom back in March of 2020. Although, after a few months taking classes from my couch, swaddled in a blanket and cuddling my German Shorthaired Pointer, Zoom university admittedly didn’t seem so terrible anymore. I loved the flexibility and freedom the online nature of school gave me to study from anywhere, making for spontaneous travel opportunities (fully vaccinated, of course!) and time spent with family and friends I’ll never forget.

That said, these past couple of weeks on campus have almost made me forget online school ever existed. The first week was definitely a zero-to-one hundred feeling; I was (pleasantly!) overwhelmed by the sheer number of classmates I hadn’t seen in a year and a half, and also surprised by how many faces I didn’t recognize in my classes (I quickly realized that since last year’s first-year students naturally began online, there are now double the amount of students new to campus!).

However, by week two, I was shocked by how comfortable I already felt on campus. My brain brought back a muscle memory I didn’t know I had as I eased into the everyday patterns from my first and second years of college; winding through the maze that is the UC, stopping at the sushi bar in the cafeteria, and going to Joe’s with friends for a mid-class coffee break all felt as familiar as ever. 

There are certainly a few key aspects of university life that have changed. Masks, of course, make it difficult to smile or mouth a quick ‘hi’ to a familiar face in class, and more significantly prevent us from fully connecting with one another face-to-face. COVID tests have been tricky to keep up with, and the delayed turnaround time for Binx entry testing has forced many to miss their in-person classes this week. However, even with these hiccups and diversions from normalcy, my pessimism is decreasing as the weeks go on. I’ve been loving connecting with new and old friends and peers, revisiting my favorite coffee shops around campus, and spending time in our on-campus facilities– even with a mask on. It is indeed good–no, great– to be back. 

Sabrina is a third-year student at Parsons School of Design studying Strategic Design and Management. She enjoys writing about beauty, lifestyle, and fashion, obviously. When she's not catching up with friends over a cappuccino, she's probably journaling or cutting up old magazines for her latest collage.
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