UC Riverside has decided to bring back most classes to campus for the spring quarter. This is the first time most students are experiencing their courses in person. It is their first time walking from class to class, actually getting a taste of a “normal college experience.” Many of us have never felt the rush and anxiety of entering a class and seeing so many of our peers.
Nearing the end of the first week, it was quite an exciting experience that I wanted to share here. Something that I did not expect at all was just how tired I would feel at the end of each day. Usually, I am a night owl; I love staying up to give myself time to relax which is separate from the rest of my hectic day. Still, this week I found myself going to sleep much earlier than usual (which is, honestly, a good thing) due to the fact that I was just that tired after going to classes all day long, walking back and forth on campus.
When this happened after the very first day, I thought it was strange. In my mind, I told myself that my schedule wasn’t that hectic and that it was weird for me to be so tired. I started asking around and seeing all over social media and came to see people say that this is quite a normal feeling, even before the pandemic had caused a drastic change in college life. People online were posting about how tired they were feeling, believing that this was due to the drastic shift from entirely online to in-person, thinking that we had yet another effect of the COVID pandemic changing our daily lives, but older college students who had the opportunity to experience a typical college week said that the fatigue comes with the experience, saying that it would get better and comforting the people that believed that they were only having a hard time.
It was the same case for me, feeling like COVID and online classes had ruined my ability to interact with others and take on the workload of college. I had frightened myself, thinking that maybe this quarter would be worse than the others because I had never done this before, that I was the only one feeling this way, and that everyone else knew what they were doing while I was falling behind. It was a different version of imposter syndrome in that even though I had been a college student for nearly two years, I was no longer a true or valid one as I had not experienced it “the right way.” It was comforting to open social media and see that I was not the only one who felt this way, that felt like a fake college student and was feeling overwhelmed. Knowing that this kind of feeling happened even before COVID made that feeling of imposter syndrome lessen. So, with this article, I wanted to tell all of the other college students that feel like they aren’t going to make it now that things are back on track to becoming normal again, that they are not alone and that this feeling of fatigue and being overwhelmed is normal, it’s simply the college experience. Some things that I have been doing to help fight this fatigue are merely allowing myself to get enough sleep, taking breaks from work, and hanging out with friends to get away from only thinking about school.