Navigating the "New" Normal

After leaving college abruptly last March, I couldn’t be more excited to be back at school! Shoutout to my parents, I love you mom and dad, but I had to go back into the real world one day. Today marks the end of week two of my junior year, yet somehow it feels like freshman year all over again, attempting to navigate the ins and outs of college.

One of the most challenging changes so far is the food situation. Stonehill now has this app called “Bite” that allows you to order your food ahead of time. I thought this was a smart idea until I ordered food on the app at 4 p.m. and didn’t receive it till 6:30 p.m.! I wasn’t even hungry at that point, but I learned my lesson. Or did I? Two days later, I ordered my breakfast at 9 a.m. to be ready for 10 a.m., well it was prepared in less than 10 minutes. I’m still in the process of mastering this app and figuring out the timetable so that I can eat when I’m hungry. I am a picky eater on top of all this, and when I say picky eater, I mean that I eat like a 10-year-old. This app does not appeal to my taste buds because there are limited customizable options. I guess I'll have to either pick through my food or try something new. I understand how useful this app is to prevent gatherings, it is just unfamiliar, and I have yet to adapt.

Gif of Michelle from Full House eating a plate of spaghetti Giphy

Another adjustment was wearing a mask. This wasn’t as hard to adjust to because I was used to wearing a mask while working over the summer. I also understand the importance and science behind wearing a mask, but it’s still weird to put it on anytime I leave my dorm room. I’ve gotten so used to wearing it that I occasionally experience “dumb blonde moments.” Basically, I forget I am wearing a mask, and when I see someone else wearing it, I panic, but then I remember that I have it on. The masks also make identifying friends on campus very difficult because half of their faces are hidden. In some ways, I like how the mask blocks half of my face. I don’t have to worry about people commenting on my facial expressions or my blushing cheeks. Don’t get me wrong, though, masks are miserable to wear all the time, and I can’t wait for the day when we no longer have to wear them.

face mask prevention Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Classes in a pandemic are entirely different. Luckily, I have two in-person classes, and the other three are virtual. In my in-person courses, we also have remote students who log in from their computers. It’s weird because the professor will ask a question, and you expect the person in front of you to answer it, but then a random voice, one of the remote students’ answers. Transitioning from in-person to online classes is tough. Although most of my Zoom lectures are only 1 hour, it feels like an eternity. After online lectures, I’m always tired, and my head hurts from staring into the screen. It’s also exhausting reminding yourself that you’re on camera and not to do anything stupid! Not saying that I have done anything stupid, but my biggest fear is that I will do something embarrassing, and another student will be recording and then I will go viral on Tik Tok for all the wrong reasons.

Coronavirus Unsplash

Despite these minor inconveniences, junior year is off to a good start. I am hopeful that this pandemic will come to an end and I will return to my normal routine. Until then, I will get used to this new normal because I realize these changes are crucial to keeping everyone safe and healthy!