Girl On Bench With Backpack

Out With the Old and In With the New: A Reflection on Freshman Year at SLU, During a Pandemic

So, it’s the end of spring semester. Time to move out. I’ve finished my freshman year of college—hooray? I don’t really know how to feel about this. I know I should be excited but sometimes the speed at which time passes scares me…I feel like I moved in yesterday. That’s not to say that I’m not ready to leave though. I cannot wait to lie in my bed at home and stare at my blue walls and do nothing, think about nothing. Even sitting down and gathering the mental capacity to write this took a lot from me—you don’t even know. 

I do this weird thing (or at least I think it’s weird because I’ve never heard anyone else talk about it). I frame time periods of my life in terms of the media that I was absorbing during that stage. For me, my freshman year of college will now always be associated with "Arrested Development" and Anderson .Paak (OK, alliteration!). I like that my brain works in this way; it makes it easy for me to remember how I felt at different times in my life. Like during the winter of my senior year of high school I got into Glass Animals, Benee, and Tyler, the Creator, and now that time is what I think of whenever I hear specific songs. My hypothesis for why these songs specifically invoke such clear memories is because it was the last “normal” that I experienced. I’m not as much of a fan of the new normal, if I’m being honest. 

I think someone should coin a term for claustrophobia induced by COVID-19. I would do it myself, but like I said, my brain is not quite operating at its full capacity at the moment. And it’s not really “claustrophobia” per se, rather a feeling of being squeezed too tightly after not being allowed to go out in the world for an extended period of time. I miss movie theaters, I miss going to concerts, I miss theme parks, I miss it all. I actually saw that an artist that I like is going on tour later this year and I blacked out and immediately bought tickets. Twice. Yes, I am going to the Glass Animals Dreamland Tour and also the TV Girl six-and-a-half year anniversary tour, thank you for asking. I even roped in a few of my friends to come with me, and my calendar has been marked. I’m ready. Not only has the vaccine immunized me against the virus, apparently it has also valiantly worked against rational judgement and self-control! It’s not really something I’m mad about though. I’ve always wanted to go to more concerts. 

I’m moving out in about a week, and I have not packed at all. My clean clothes are still in the hamper I used to transport them from the laundry room and my dirty clothes remain in a misshapen pile on the floor in the corner of my dorm. There are approximately seven disposable masks scattered throughout my room, and post it notes are stuck sporadically on the wall above my desk. I guess one good thing came out of my lack of motivation for room decor in the beginning of the semester: there is less for me to take down and I don’t have to deal with paint chips. In a completely unrelated matter, does anyone know how to hide a slight dent in the wall by chance?

When I leave I know I’m going to miss certain things on campus. The smell of the elevator in Ritter Hall (or at least how it smelled on that one specific day), Grand’s soft-serve (whose quality always pleasantly surprises me) and the slight spray that I get every time I walk past the fountain around the clocktower on a windy day, to name a few. The fact that I am able to name these things makes me happy, as if I have definite proof that I’ve been a student for a year. I have things to miss. I know I’m going to wake up one day in the middle of this summer and have a severe craving for Fresh Gatherings' peanut butter oat balls, and what am I going to do then? Well I guess they did post the recipe on their instagram, but still. It’s not the same. All the more to look forward to next semester then. Those and the tiny worms that descend from the trees outside Cupples House in the fall.

Actually, now that I think about it, maybe not the last one.