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Wellness > Mental Health

The Perspective of Returning to In-Person Classes From a Student With Processing Disorders

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

Friday, January 21st, the UCLA announcement came that made some students’ dreams come true and other students’ worst nightmares come to life: we would officially be going back in person on week 5 after completing almost half the quarter virtually. I am not exactly on one side of the dream-nightmare spectrum. I have mixed feelings about going back in person. As a student with two processing disorders—ADHD and Apraxia—I hate online school. Online classes have severely damaged my concentration and focus, as well as my motivation. However, I didn’t find myself rejoicing at the announcement because in the same token, after a month of online classes, I have an established routine. I have a rough schedule of when I watch my lectures, do my readings, complete my online assignments, exercise, etc. Having this pattern dissolve immediately, right in the middle of midterm season, is a huge slap in the face. One thing that helps me monitor my ADHD and Apraxia is having a routine, and now I’m going to have to work on establishing a brand new one during one of the most stressful times of the quarter. 

This week alone, I found myself lying in bed for hours at a time in the afternoon and evening when I knew I should be doing work, but I just could not convince myself to get up. My lack of motivation comes from extreme Zoom fatigue and also loneliness. With my roommate still gone, I only have genuine human interaction on the weekends when my schedule aligns with my friends’. Therefore, I’m hoping the return to in-person will give me the energy boost I need by seeing others and talking to people more than three days out of the week, but I’m also nervous about said interaction. This pandemic has worsened my ADHD symptoms, which have evolved into a sometimes crippling social anxiety. I cannot unmute myself in a Zoom class without having to give myself a pep talk and still have my face burning and heart-pounding during the action. I am apprehensive about how my participation will be in in-person discussions and classes because I can no longer hide behind the Zoom chat function. However, one of my goals for this year was to push myself out of my comfort zone, because I believe you sometimes need discomfort in order to have growth. I’ve decided to look at this return to campus in a more optimistic light with the hopes of calming my anxieties. 

I’m trying to take my current routine and adjust it to an in-person class lifestyle. For example, I’ve been trying to work out in the morning. Usually, I log onto class immediately after waking up and take a shower after my lecture because I cannot get myself up early enough to do everything before. Now, I have to establish a plan of waking up early enough to eat, work out, shower and walk to class on time. This will most likely involve me waking up two hours earlier than normal, so I will have to put more effort into adjusting my sleeping schedule.

I’m also trying to look on the bright side of everything. I love clothes and I am one of those girls who brought more of her closet to college than she should have. Yet, so many of my clothes have been hung in my closet neglected because I can’t justify just putting them on for an online class. I am genuinely excited to dress up each day, especially because I find that wearing outfits I love positively impacts my mental state. There is also the bright side to in-person club meetings (which are much more fun than virtual ones), Bruin Bowl and Bruin Cafe opening back up and the ability to sit in libraries and study spaces other than my dorm. 

Going back in person is not going to be a walk in the park. However, there is nothing I can do to stop it, so the best I can do is look on the bright side. My motivation won’t come back immediately, and my social anxiety will not just disappear, but I can work towards being a better version of myself with this situation I’ve been given. My heart truly does go out to my fellow disabled students who truly would rather be remote or are immunocompromised and don’t want to return to campus. I hope UCLA listens to your concerns and finds a solution because while I am going to make the best of my in-person return, I understand it is a privilege to not be scared to do so.

BriannaRose is a UCLA Communications major and Film/TV minor who aspires to break boundaries and stigmas. As an aspiring creative director and editorial writer, she works on student films and photography projects, and has professional experience in entertainment and fashion journalism, fashion public relations and internal communications for cable. In addition to writing, BriannaRose volunteers at local animal shelters, competes in pageants, and is always excited to read a contemporary romance novel.