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Fall 2021 marked The New School’s return to campus. After a 17-month hiatus, students were back in libraries, studios and performance spaces — and they couldn’t have been happier! Every member of our community had to keep up with COVID testing, but it was so worth it to be able to sit next to each other once again. Today, members of our chapter reflect on this not-so-normal return to campus. 

Claudia Langella

Being back on campus this semester was quite special for me since I’ll be graduating next semester. It was a joy to be able to work in the library again and visit my favorite spots around campus — like Washington Square Park! It was also great meeting so many faces I first met on Zoom during the previous school year. New York feels almost like it did pre-pandemic, and I feel lucky to call this wonderful city home for at least five more months. 

Sabrina Romviel 

I have absolutely loved being back on campus again. It’s been so lovely seeing familiar faces and having those spontaneous mid-commute chats on the sidewalk with classmates from my freshman year. I’ve connected with my classmates on a much deeper level this semester than any other, and am excited to continue to grow these friendships next semester and after graduation!

Venus Zhang

I’ve missed being back on campus so much, and it feels great to actually connect with classmates and build friendships. It’s strange to finally meet people in real life after having Zoom classes with them for a year. It was lovely to see old co-workers at the Lang office also. I wish some of the professors could be a bit more understanding about us adjusting back to in-person learning and a little less tough on absences and being late. 

Ananya Shrivastava 

I missed New York City while I was away, and coming back meant a lot of new things since I was finally going to live off-campus. Although that has its own stress, it’s the kind that doesn’t get to me because at the end of the day, I still get to call this city home. I feel like I missed in-person learning a lot and sometimes I forget just how much, until I step into a class and am greeted by the chatter before the class starts, which didn’t happen over Zoom. I haven’t been able to participate in many activities but I was excited to finally hang out with my friends, and now that I can, I’m having the time of my life.

Katie Akhalbedashvili

I feel very lucky for getting to be on campus as a first year student! I have definitely missed being in an academic setting. Sitting in a classroom makes it so much easier for me to focus, and the social aspect that comes with it is a cherry on top. I am so grateful to have been able to meet my classmates in person. It is great to see the city come back to life — so excited to be able to study in cafes again!

Gabriella (Gabby) Bottomley

I’m glad to be able to be on campus for my first year. It feels good to see other students face to face, and I feel that I can learn better in the physical classroom. It is definitely still an adjustment for me, but I am slowly starting to feel like I did pre-pandemic. Being in NYC makes it that much more exciting, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for me at Lang!

Sydney Epstein 

It was such a joy to be back on campus this semester. I am graduating next semester and to have my final year be in person is really sepcial. I loved being back in the studio spaces, doing homework in the library and walking the streets of Manhattan between classes. One of my favorite things was finally meeting people and professors who I had on Zoom in real life! Even though everyone is wearing masks, being face to face again is a treat and I am excited for what the next semester will bring! 

Nina Daniele

Being back in person this semester was exciting and great and weird and tiring. Seeing others in person simply cannot be replaced by a computer. Interacting with classmates is one of the best parts of school, and it was refreshing to be back. It was also a weird adjustment being back and not having nothing to do but school. Balance was hard as we were back in the city, but still had school responsibilities and classes. Time seemed to go by so quickly but anything is better than Zoom class.

Abigail Connolly

I was so incredibly happy to be back on campus this semester. I still fondly remember our first day of classes, when I sat in our campus courtyard, and all around me I heard the joyful sound of friends reuniting for the first time in over a year. The energy was impeccabile. The semester did present its own set of challenges, as it was difficult for a lot of us to make the transition from virtual learning back to being in class. But overall, the best part was seeing everyone again, getting to laugh and grow together, not behind a computer screen. 

Samera Shim

It was so awesome to be on campus this semester! I took a gap year specifically because of COVID, and it was an amazing experience to be able to be on campus starting my college experience. It was such a rewarding experience to be able to have discussions in person with my peers, get to build strong relationships with my professors and those around me, and see what college is really like — rather than just behind a screen in my room at home! Super excited for what next semester will bring, and super ready for my (almost) fully in-person schedule!

Fatima Coulibaly

At first, it felt kind of weird being back on campus this semester and walking in crowded spaces like the subway. I was so accustomed to staying at home, but within the first weeks of the semester my body and mind eventually adjusted to being outside. I’m really happy to be back on campus. There were so many resources like the library at the University Center or Lang Cafe that I missed using while in quarantine. It was also nice to meet in person with my professors and classmates (no Zoom glitches).

Deeva Thomas 

I’m so grateful to be on campus this semester. From continuous Zoom classes, I loved going to class every day, especially getting to know my professors and classmates offline. I got to explore the city with my friends and learned how to live independently!

Ariana Guerra

Returning to campus was full of all the things I hoped for: getting to see those I missed and meeting new friends, classroom discussions and studio time, and field trips around the city.

I especially missed walking to class and New York City’s special and chaotic ambience. It was also full of things I could have never anticipated. I didn’t consider how draining school would be. I went from barely doing anything to suddenly doing it all. Fighting burnout was hard, but so was having to deal with classes with low attendance (because Binx lost people’s COVID tests and other testing issues), trouble communicating and performing with masks, and trying to live “normally” in a not-so-normal world. Although this semester wasn’t perfect and often challenging, it was infinitely better than online school and I am immensely grateful for all of it. 

Priya Ramkumar 

Coming onto campus for the first time was an experience that was definitely full of ups and downs. It was a little exhausting to be on guard all the time. With the early burnout from returning to a rigorous schedule and the low attendance due to COVID tests and other campus clearance issues, it felt like this semester was both too short and too long. However, I wouldn’t trade these past few months for the world. I made so many new friends, explored a city that I love, and learned new skills (in person!) and art styles that I never would’ve been able to explore remotely. This semester was definitely a strange one and a perfect example of the awkwardness of transitioning back into a new “normal,” but I think it was a great experience and I’m doubly excited to be on campus again in the spring. 

If you're interested HCTNS, please e-mail us at hc.newschool@hercampus.com
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