When I walked into class on the first day of my junior year, I felt a wave of panic wash over me. I hadn’t been in a classroom since my freshman year, and I was now a junior. In the time since the pandemic hit, I had declared my major, taken on a leadership role in my sorority, and started my chapter of Her Campus. I had reached so many milestones behind a screen. I was comfortable behind a screen. And yet, here I was, choosing my seat in my junior year history seminar class. I was worried about catching Covid-19, figuring out how to act in a classroom setting again, and sorting out how to study for tests and quizzes that would be done in person.
As I took my seat, I couldn’t help but be hyper aware of how close everyone was sitting. The classroom had all students sitting around a table, close enough that we could all hear and see each other. My anxiety heightened. I didn’t want to potentially get sick and infect my housemates, some of which are more vulnerable. However, due to William and Mary rules, there was no way a student could opt into taking a class online. That meant that if someone caught Covid-19, they would struggle to complete coursework without being in class. Luckily, most of my professors were understanding; they could accommodate those who had to go virtual. I know other students aren’t quite as lucky.
After my class was completed, I felt more at ease. My professor assured us that the majority of Covid-19 spread at William and Mary did not come from the classroom setting. Even though I felt calm at the moment, I knew that my anxiety would come back, and I would have to try to reassure myself. Now that I am about a month into my junior year, I still have moments of panic, but I have more moments of confidence, happiness, and excitement. I try to be as careful as I can, double masking in classes, wearing a mask outside, eating in areas without a lot of people, but there will always be an element of risk in a college setting. All I can do is try and keep my head up and focus on my classes, which is proving easy to do with all my assignments! Hopefully the rest of the semester goes by uneventfully, and William and Mary keeps Covid-19 cases controllable. Maybe then I can start to feel more free – more like a typical college student.