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As our first full online semester comes to a close, I’m taking time to reflect on the things I’ve learned over these past four months. As a junior at The New School I’m holding onto hope in a physical return to campus, but for now I’m trying my best to focus on the present. After a much needed break we will once again return to our screen in the spring to start a new journey through academia—one that’s less fun than it would have been if we were all in Manhattan, but for now I’m trying to find the silver linings in all of this.


When a light at the end of the tunnel exists, then we must endure the dark moments, too, in order for us to find that light. Acknowledging the cons of this whole experience is important not only for our sanity but because that’s just the reality of virtual learning. There are going to be many hard days and nights spent not wanting to finish homework. 


(Disclaimer: All these views are my own and may not reflect the opinions of the The New School and Her Campus communities.)


I for one have missed New York all semester, and those of you still in the city are some pretty lucky ducks. I also miss the commute to school, even if I was freezing my butt off most of the time. Guess you don’t know what you have until it’s gone… I’ve been reminiscing a lot since the holiday season rolled in and hope to see the lights that hang from the buildings on 9th Street next year. 


Let’s not forget about the crazy amount of tuition we’re paying to just sit in front of a computer screen for the majority of the day, and to those we have lost because of that, I commend you. Our New School community is not the same as it was before this pandemic with the loss of so many students, staff and faculty members, and I hope that the university finds a way to make us complete again in the future. 


Here at The New School’s Her Campus chapter, we often end our meetings on a happy note, sharing the few things from our weeks that made this whole experience easier. Maybe we learned a new skill in the kitchen or supported a local business we think others should support too. So I will close this article on a high note, listing the things I would consider the light at the end of the tunnel that was this semester. 


First up is not having to get dressed up. You no longer need to walk into the UC where everyone is putting on a fashion show. Simply slip into your favorite sweats and you’re good. But if you still enjoy getting all dolled up, go for it! Classes also have been pretty accessible for the most part; you can rewatch lectures, download PDFs instead of walking to the library for a book and can meet with professors more often. Less money is spent on commuting and textbooks, but make sure to apply to the Student Emergency Fund if need be!


Online school also allows for some pretty cool guest speakers. Sure, it would have been more fun to meet these people in a real classroom setting, but perhaps they wouldn’t have ever been able to travel to New York! That goes for students as well. Those who spent the majority of their day commuting to the city no longer have to. And even if you did live close to campus, you can sleep in too. 


As we prepare to head off on our very-needed-and-much-anticipated winter break, I hope that once finals are submitted, you rest up with the ones you love. And if you cannot travel this year, I hope you are still able to find some holiday cheer. Congratulations on completing another semester of college, and may the one that follows be a little more bearable than the last.


Claudia Langella is a Literary Studies major at Lang and is the Chapter Leader of HCTNS. When she's not writing, it's likely you'll find her in the kitchen or taking long walks in the city.
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