It's been said from the beginning of this madness that we are "living in interesting times." I mean really, a month ago, the thought of stores running out of toilet paper was ludicrous. I was a college freshman, just getting the hang of her spring semester, and before I knew it, one of my roommates and her family were taking me home that Friday.
Saying "good-bye" to my freshman year of college felt strange.
My two roommates and I all planned to come back the following weekend and pack up our stuff, and we did. We said good-bye to the dorm that housed us for six months, to the door and hallway decorations, to our awesome R.A., turned in our keys, and waved to the SoVi gator one last time. Granted, we would have packed up a month later, but packing our things still felt so strange. My roommate and I exchanged looks while we boxed our things: 'That's it? We're done?' The feeling never settled. But we knew we had to learn to adapt. We needed to learn to be flexible and say good-bye to our freshman year just a little earlier than planned. Not to mention, we needed to figure out a new way to do homework and live life which, as I've gathered from many of my friends' private stories, was almost like pulling teeth.
Was I the only one who did this?
I don't know about you, but I'm someone who has a designated setting for what I do - my dorm was to get my work done, study, practice music, and anything else school-related; home in Tampa was to spend time with my mom and do whatever homework I didn't finish from school. That was how I tried to stay focused on what I needed to get done, but thanks to COVID-19, my two organized "designated areas" had clashed. I ended up doing homework in bed and watching movies at my homework desk. And for the longest time, I thought it was just me who subdivided their life this way, but thanks to relatable posts and Instagram stories, I was reassured I wasn't.
My friend had posted on her Instagram story a post from another account that put into words how being in a home environment, as opposed to a school environment, made it difficult to do school work. I thought, "Wow, I guess I'm not the only one who thinks like this," and after going through the comments, I found that even more people were the same way. One user even commented:
"Do u know how comforting it is to know that other students are struggling with this too?"
There was a former home-schooled student who gave the suggestion of picking a spot in the house to be your "new school environment." And as I kept scrolling, there were more people saying how they could relate to the post, and there were people who were giving tips on studying at home. People were connecting with each other without having met in person, all because of one relatable post.
We are not alone.
I noticed that there have been many other posts circulating social media that relate to the population of introverts and extroverts at this point in time. To be completely honest, as much as I love staying inside where the only interaction I'm down for is with the TV, the fridge, and my couch, I do in fact have my moments where socializing with people helps the cabin fever subside. By scrolling through similar posts, I found that I wasn't alone, and students from different schools and different ages were having the same problem. As cheesy as it sounds, this is kind of what we need - we need familiarity in what we're all going through, and the fact that people are finding ways to relate to each other helps us feel that we are not individually alone in this madness even though we have to be isolated in our houses. In a way, I hope this writing gives a sense of security, even if it's the smallest hint of it, to you. This has been an incredibly difficult and uncomfortable situation to adjust to, but ultimately, we are all still figuring out this "new normal," and we'll keep pushing through to find it.