Making the Best of My New Normal/by Marquisha Mathis

I was so excited to get that email in early July from Dr. Thompson about coming back and moving onto campus. However, there was so much protocol that had to be followed, and so many things had changed. Things were going to look different for the first time ever.

I couldn’t wait to leave home and get back, even if I had to change up the way I do things. Going home for spring break and getting an email saying that we would be doing the rest of the semester online was really awful. This made me realize that I would rather be on campus, having the opportunity to interact with my professors and hanging out with my friends. I need that.

It’s been a great three weeks here so far. Although moving in was a little different, and I’m having to socially distance from everyone, I’ve still been living my best life. The number one thing was going back to classes — actually sitting in them and seeing my professors and friends, even if it’s only fifty percent of the time.

Masks are no fun, but we’re all making it work. Things that we were looking forward to such as Lighting of the Quad won’t happen this year because we get out in November. Events that we had planned for the new year are being put together in a different way. There’s no visitation this year. The only time your mask comes off is when you’re eating or in your room.

Senior Grace Bunn said, “I am really thankful for an administration who is doing all they can for our students to be back on campus as well as providing safety and health as the number one concern.”

When going to classes, we’re only allowed to go inside certain doors and out other ones. We sit six feet apart, and of course with our masks on. Also, to limit the spread, professors are not allowing students in their offices. We can either set up some time or meet on Zoom.

Though this is our new normal for now, living on campus is still the best, and I’ve tried to make the best of it. For example, when I get to my pod, I watch everything from Hulu, to Netflix, to Amazon Prime, to Disney Plus. I use this time to wind down, relax, and not think about the idea of having to wear a mask and what’s happening outside in the world.

“It’s definitely an adjustment,” said Morgan Miller. “I have to be mindful about things now in a way that I never would’ve thought about earlier this year, such as avoiding crowded places, keeping up with Campus Clear, and adapting to hybrid styles of learning.

Of course everything is different. We can’t even just sit outside anymore and soak up the fresh breeze because we don’t know what we’re inhaling.

It’s like this in every state, but you’re still kind of dealing with the reality of it all. We don’t know how long we have to deal with the unknown. We just have to follow the rules in order to stay safe and keep everyone else safe.

One thing we can say is that this is a process, but we’re not taking things for granted anymore, and we’re appreciating people more than we did before all of this.

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