Alexander: Students Are Ready to Come Back to Campus

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By CJ Alexander, Opinion Writer

 

There’s no denying how tough the pandemic has been for everyone. It has been a constant uphill struggle against disrupted routines, loss of social contact, negative mental health and so much more. We’ve lost more people than we could bear and confronted numerous social issues while also fighting our individual battles. We’ve faced challenge after challenge, whether in our classrooms or at home, each one of us has struggled to find a way to stay afloat. As students, we’ve faced countless hardships, making the pandemic only that much more difficult.

Despite individual differences, every student faced many similar struggles last year. The introduction of virtual classrooms, remote online learning, lessened social interaction and newfound struggles greatly added to the weight we already bear as students. Thankfully, some professors attempted to ease our stress by giving extensions or allowing days off for our mental health. This lax attitude was greatly appreciated by many students.

This past school year has been rough and I’m proud of us for getting this far. We made it here, in spite of the loss we’ve faced. We ‘re finally ready for the next school year — ready to go back and make our mark. I hope the U knows that. I hope our teachers, faculty and administration are ready, because I’m ready for a new academic challenge after an incredibly stressful and taxing year.

College has always been hard. Before the pandemic, students’ common concerns included worrying where their next meal would come from and how they would pay for rent or tuition. Academic prowess, balancing mental and social health, maintaining networking connections and employment status were common troubles plaguing the minds of college students. Students had incredibly challenging experiences amid the immense pressure of college’s competitive nature.

But the pandemic drastically changed all of that. We no longer had traditional classroom experiences or normal social lives. In fact, any sense of normalcy was long forgotten as Zoom school consumed our lives, quarantining became the daily routine and sports and much of club activities were halted. As a freshman, my entire first year of college was underwhelming and virtual. The U tried their best to accommodate students’ needs during the pandemic by making the most of the resources accessible, but it was an incredibly disappointing year to start college. In general, the pandemic just dampened the spirits of many U students.

But the pandemic’s end is drawing near as vaccinations rates rise and students prepare for in-person classes this fall. The new year is taking hold, and with it, we’ll face new challenges. Students and teachers of the U should embrace these new challenges and accept the new year as a gift for making it this far — for surviving a pandemic and all its hardships. The perseverance of all U students, teachers, faculty and administration is inspiring. After persisting through harder challenges, I think it’s time for the full force of college life at the U. Through the increased social activity, the implementation of more stimulating coursework and traditional instruction, I think the U can fully return to a pre-pandemic quality of life.

Now, that isn’t to say we can ignore the past. It’s still incredibly important to remember everything we’ve been through because as we remember the hardships, the people we lost and the struggles we overcame, we become more resilient. As hard as it was, we did it. And we can do it. We’ve done it before. This past year, as rough as it was, is finally over. And now, we’re stronger because of it. We’re ready to come back to campus. So, let’s take this year to accept our new challenges, attitudes and motivations because I want to see the full force of the U. I want us all to make a strong comeback in our studies, social lives and passions.

 

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@CamdenAlexande1