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Returning to In-Person School After the Pandemic: How I’m Feeling

Entering this school year, I was so excited for my final year at UMass to be somewhat normal. A small part of my sophomore and junior years were completely virtual, and it was definitely not what I expected. Online classes seemed so isolating, and I missed constantly being on campus. Throughout most of 2020 and 2021, my club meetings, classes, and work were almost exclusively virtual. It definitely was not something I wanted to do forever, but I quickly got used to it.

Starting this school year with work, clubs, classes, and meetings being entirely in-person was a shock. After the first day of school, I was completely exhausted from walking around so much. Also, I had not seen so many people in one place in such a long time. Now, getting used to having to leave 30 minutes before the start of a class instead of just opening my computer, paired with the exhaustion from being at in-person classes all day, is a big adjustment.

A few weeks into the semester, I started to become so overwhelmed. Between committing to working two different jobs, taking classes, and beginning my senior thesis, I felt like there wasn’t a stress-free second in my day. I barely had time for myself. As COVID-19 cases exploded at UMass throughout the first couple of weeks, I became more anxious. I felt it was so difficult to get my work done, and attending all my in-person classes became nerve-wracking. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was drowning in my responsibilities, and I couldn’t escape the feeling of being constantly overwhelmed.

I quickly realized that I had to change how I was working, and doing most things, after getting so used to doing everything from home. I had to start budgeting my time and accounting for all my other responsibilities to stay on top of my work. Most importantly, I had to start prioritizing my mental health. By taking a step back, I had to think about what was causing me the most stress and ways to manage my time while still allotting time to myself. This has definitely been my most challenging semester yet. Although I assumed this semester would be a breeze compared to the past three during the pandemic, it did not exactly go according to plan.

Despite all of this, I am still so grateful to be back in-person and living off-campus with friends for my final year of college. The pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone, so realizing that it’s totally alright to not have everything go as planned is so important. For the next few weeks, I will try to enjoy my second-to-last semester at UMass and take the bad with the good day by day.

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Suzanne Wilson

U Mass Amherst '22

Suzanne is a senior at Umass studying public health, with hopes of becoming an epidemiologist. She works as a barista at a coffee shop and a tutor. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach, spending time with friends, and drinking chai lattes.
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