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Two weeks of in-person classes, one bike crash, endless cups of coffee down, and about eight or so months to go. This is going to be a long year… in the best way possible. I am beyond thankful for the ability to attend college in person rather than Zoom university, but after a year and a half off I forgot how exhausting it all is! I can’t just roll out of bed, camera off, and attend discussion or lecture. Now I am back to biking across campus, kicking it at the MU, and attending club meetings. It feels great. Campus is back to how it used to be, and every student is excited and looking forward to the school year. Honestly, even getting in my first bike crash last week (not my fault, I am okay) brought me joy. Ah, to be a UCD Aggie again. For one more year I get to feel some slight normalcy. 

Day one back on campus was a huge shock. I had gotten used to seeing campus dead — literal tumbleweeds rolling across the bike circles. Instead, I biked on to campus around 9:45 am for my first class at 10 am and I was overwhelmed with the number of students I saw. It almost made me tear up a bit. I didn’t realize how much I truly missed being a real college student. I also didn’t realize how much quarantine affected my ability to make casual conversation in a lecture hall. I won’t sugarcoat the fact that I find myself stumbling over my words like a four-year-old. Small talk before lecture begins? No thanks. Discussion groups? I will pass. I can just hope I’ll get back into the swing of things sooner rather than later.

During quarantine I made a promise to myself: my last year of college (if in-person) would be the year of saying yes. Yes, to plans with friends, yes to internships or jobs, yes to late nights or early mornings, yes to everything I can make happen. Granted, this promise has a few exceptions. If I must say no for good reason, then sure. But any other time I am going all in. After only having one full year of in-person college I feel as though I have to make the most of this school year. I have made countless memories at UCD, but I am not ready to graduate without making more. Just the thought of graduating makes me want to cry uncontrollably, but we won’t go there quite yet. I still have some time. 

The majority of other students or friends I have talked to hold similar expectations and feelings towards this school year. We all love our school and everything it has given us. Whether you are new to UCD or are a returning Aggie, let’s make the 2021-2022 school year unforgettable. Here’s to new friends and familiar faces, here’s to classes and study sessions, here’s to weekend activities and fun times, and here’s to a great year. SKO AGS!

Lauren Wharton is a third year UC Davis student majoring in Animal Sciences. In her free time, she enjoys weightlifting, CrossFit, eating copious amounts of Halo Top, and spending time with her family, friends, and Shiba Inu, Mable.
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