As is known, 2020 has been filled to the brim with unexpected twists and turns which made us question the very fabric of our reality and where we stand when it comes to whatever comes next. With the biggest upheaval being the COVID-19 outbreak the swept the globe, everyone and their grandmother fled to the safety of their homes via regulations and precautions being made to slow the spread. With the virus' end still being up in the air, jobs and school have reopened with several of their respective workers and students returning to a life they once thought would be no more. With this of course comes a lot of emotional and psychological sharp turns that can leave some to feel overwhelmed and lost. It is not surprising given that staying put for months on end as if we were living in a new The Walking Dead season became the new way of life for a lot of people, myself included.
Coming back to college, speaking from the experiences of my own and others around me, has definitely felt different. It did not feel like a normal college reunion that we have come to expect and anticipate. Instead, it had an anxiety-inducing overtone not from the virus but from the fact that we now have to return to normal life but with new upgrades (or downgrades depending on where you stand). First and foremost, social distancing and mask wearing has become the new expected norm on campus and every student felt this new version of college life in different ways. Some felt it to be an intrusion on their autonomy whereas others just rolled with it. I was one of those that rolled with it, despite some extra bits of inconvenience weighing on my shoulders as it is something new to get used to.
Another major change that took getting used to was the new class structure. What I mean is the infamous hybrid model our state governments have chanted for months like a fervent cabal. The hybrid model being employed meant that the ratio between online and in-person instruction would be split 50/50 within each class for social distancing to be effective. While this seems easy on paper, it definitely took a lot of getting used to at the beginning, as every professor in my experience having their own agency in how they conducted their classes. Some did the hybrid while others went fully online, which made memorizing and keeping on top of tasks much more of a chore than it ever was before. Classmates have even stated themselves that while college is now well underway into its new semester, things still "did not feel right."
From discussions had with professors and students alike, neither groups felt that the new normal was something that they would favor being a permanent change. Instruction has become much more tiresome and hectic on the ends of the professors trying their best to offer engaging learning experiences for their students. On the other side of the coin, students themselves have a much harder time bringing themselves to mentally bring themselves to efficiently carry out their work and tasks due to being used to life without college for a while.
However, on the bright side, students and professors alike have worked much harder together to make everything work within the campus environment, bringing together a sense of community that none of us have expected. While the new normal is not going to be the permanent normal, it is great to witness people acclimating to a world that changed in the blink of an eye. While I am still getting adjusted to the new world and college life affected by it, I am willing to see the semester through and getting back into the mindset I was at before the ceiling came crashing down on the world's head as is everyone else.