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What I learned from a Semester in a Pandemic

When I was admitted into WashU I had no idea what my first semester would look like. That said, none of my predictions came close to what actually happened. The concept of a pandemic was the stuff of fiction - something reserved only for dystopian novels. I couldn’t imagine a daily life dictated by social distance guidelines, mask-wearing, and symptom monitoring. And yet, here we are.

After nearly 5 months of immense global confusion - 3 of which were spent entirely from the confines of our homes - WashUs campus came to life. I - and many others - were eager to meet new people, live in a new place, and discover new classes and extracurriculars. However, the pandemic proved challenging. Most, if not all, of our classes were online. Those that were in person were small and students had to social distance at all times (thus resulting in little interaction). The majority of extracurriculars were moved online or canceled entirely. Matches, competitions, and finals were all up in the air.

It was because of this that I discovered the importance of resilience. If 2020 proved anything, it's that for all of our planning and preparing, things can change at a moment's notice. So, during this unprecedented time, I realized that it helps to take things day by day. Instead of focusing on far and distant goals or expectations, I would focus on tomorrow. This mindset was incredibly helpful for getting through the semester.

I also realized that everyone is going through the exact same experience. Everyone was worried about meeting people and enjoying their classes. Everyone was eager to try new things and explore course options. Because of this, I discovered the value of trying new things. In this unpredictable time, trying new activities allowed me to meet new people, learn something new, and break up the day. Plus, they were fun!

So if there are times during the second semester where you don’t know what to do or how to navigate this hectic time, try attending a different club meeting or take on an interesting project in class. And try to remember that you aren’t in this alone, and we’re all going to get through it!

Freshman at WashU interested in English and Business.
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