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Returning Back to Campus Next Semester: An Annoying New Normal or a Golden Opportunity?

I am sure we all have very mixed feelings about returning back to campus next semester. Ever since the university announced plans to return back in person to a maximum capacity, students and staff have had many questions, many of which haven’t been answered. 

As we’ve navigated this “new normal” of online school, many of us have adjusted to waking up 10 minutes before our classes instead of a couple hours from when we used to commute. We’ve become accustomed to chatting with classmates in breakout rooms as opposed to in a classroom, and have learned (if not mastered) the art of multitasking. For some, this “new normal” has taken a serious toll on mental health, social life, and academic progress. For others, it’s been an absolute joyride. 

In my opinion, returning back to campus has its pros and cons. On one hand, I’ll have the opportunity to see my friends more often, meet some of my work colleagues in person, and probably focus a little better in those classes that I seem to zone out in on Zoom. On the other hand, it may be more difficult for me to take time out for myself with commuting blocking off additional time in my day. It’ll be harder to resist making an unnecessary purchase as I walk through Central Square and of course, the amount of time I spend casually scrolling through social media will need to be drastically reduced.

While it’s important to look for the good in any given situation, it’s definitely easier said than done.. This is especially true when we’re forced to navigate and adapt to a change that we may not have willingly chosen. 

But one thing that returning back to campus has reminded me of is just how lucky we are to have the opportunity to engage in in-person learning altogether. We are so lucky to have the privilege of being able to learn in the classroom while many people around the world are still navigating the most harsh realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

When you spend too much time complaining about what could have been, you often lose sight of the importance of being grateful for what you already have. Rather than complaining about this change, make the best of it. Consider it as a blessing, an opportunity to get out of your bed (literally) and out into the world. An opportunity to meet new people, develop your social skills, be a more attentive and motivated student, and exercise! 

No matter how you choose to tackle next semester, I wish you all the best. Take it step by step, know your limits, and always remember… April is just a few months away!

Riya is an Indian-Canadian writer from Richmond Hill, Ontario. She is in her first year in the teaching program at York University! Riya has been writing her entire life; she joined Her Campus to connect with others who have the same passion and share her ideas on topics including politics, lifestyle, and well-being. Her favourite thing about writing is that it can be approached and interpreted differently by each individual based on their own personal experiences. When she is not writing, she can be found watching movies, painting, volunteering in her community, or listening to music - she has song lyrics running through her head 24/7! Riya lives by the quote; “To the world, you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.”