We’ve officially been back in person at UW for three weeks, and I honestly have mixed feelings. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been nice being back on campus and feeling like I’m actually in college, but I’m exhausted, and I haven’t felt this exhausted in a while. We’re also still in the middle of a pandemic, so that’s just a nice little cherry on top since UW is a huge campus, and despite the mask mandate and vaccination requirement, it’s still quite nerve-wracking. Something else that makes it weird is that I left campus being a first-year student and now this is my last year, and I was still a little lost the first day back. Also, not to mention that UW is full of hills and stairs, and as someone who not only gained some weight during our time in Zoom university, but also worked remotely and hardly left my apartment this last year, I was huffing and puffing on my way to class.
For the most part, I’ve been met with classmates being happy we’re back in person, and I also am now, but before the school year started, I was DREADING it. I had gotten used to remote learning and wasn’t ready to give up waking up three minutes before class and turning on my computer and hiding behind a black screen whenever I wanted to. I also wasn’t ready to actually have to socialize with people in person, considering the only people I saw on a daily basis were my sister and boyfriend, because I live with them and my immediate family once a week when I’d go visit. On top of having to wake up early, get ready and socialize, this was also the first-time I’d have to commute to school, and I cannot tell you how much I was dreading that.
But I got a new job this year and I was required to start going back to campus two weeks before school started for training, orientation, and regular work after that. I was kind of glad I’d be able to somewhat ease back into in-person school and all of the things I was dreading about it, and to an extent, it did help. My new job in comparison to my old one is a lot more social, so that was definitely a trip considering I’d been working remotely for over a year now. The silver lining was that this time I was at least surrounded by student employees, and it helped make the transition a bit better because I wasn’t just having to talk to fully grown adults constantly.
Despite work getting me a bit more used to waking up before 10 am every day, I was still not fully prepared for commuting, attending classes, doing homework, and going to work every day of the week. Even after just two days of school I was exhausted in all aspects. I hadn’t been up and functioning before 10 am in what felt like years and my sleep schedule was awful before school started. Not only was I mentally exhausted, but I was physically, socially exhausted too. I’ve heard from some peers that they’ve also noticed just how draining in-person classes are compared to Zoom lectures, and while I’m enjoying being back on campus now that I’m there, I can’t lie and say that I don’t miss Zoom lectures every now and then.
Since I hadn’t been on campus for almost two years, I had forgotten all the bus routes, fastest routes to and from classes, and just overall where rooms were in buildings. Needless to say, I definitely felt like a freshman the first two days of classes. But at least I feel like I’m learning on a whole other level now compared to Zoom university.
We’re only at the beginning of week 3, and I’m still trying to figure out the best way to commute to school (thanks in part to UW’s sh*tty student parking along with an incredibly hefty parking pass price, and also to the light rail’s inconsistency with its new stops that have made me late for work two times now). I know it’ll only get better, as it’s a matter of getting used to things again, but I’m ready for that time to come now. I’m staying on top of my classes fine, but I’m struggling to find a routine to my hectic and packed daily schedule. And honestly, I wake up late half the time, so I’m just perpetually hungry because I either skip breakfast or packing my lunch (or both) so it’s been interesting, to say the least.
In being back on campus, I’ve reflected on the fact that this is my last year at UW (at least for undergrad, fingers crossed I get accepted into their law school in a couple years because they have the cheapest in-state tuition), and I can’t help but feel a little sad. Most of my college experience has been spent in my room sitting at my desk with my laptop in front of me, and while I’ve made some nice memories, it does suck that I never got to fully experience that college life. But, because it is my last year, I’m determined to make this one my best one. I’m pushing myself to not only try my hardest again in school, but also to socialize more and take advantage of being in college.
So, here’s to hoping we all get through this transition sane, with good grades and hopefully a decent night’s sleep every day, and that we don’t get any massive outbreaks that make us go back online; then I really might just have to stay a fourth year at UW.