My father attended MSU in the 1980’s and raised me to bleed green and white. I grew up attending home football games every year for as long as I can remember. I never realized until it came time to make my college decision that I had already fallen in love with MSU’s campus. I could not imagine being anywhere else as an undergrad. It all seemed to be going great in fall 2019, my freshman year, into spring 2020 as I got to enjoy the sights and sounds of a buzzing campus: classes, dorms, clubs, football and basketball games, and the occasional party even.
Obviously, this all came to a screeching halt in March 2020 when I moved back to Clarkston, MI and stepped into the new normal of Zoom meetings/classes back in my childhood bedroom. I was fortunate enough to be locked into a housing contract for the 2020 school year. I moved to an East Lansing apartment in the fall where I completed my second year of undergrad. During this time, I took frequent walks, runs and longboard rides through an MSU campus that after experiencing pre-Covid-19 normal -- I can only describe as a ghost town. On all those trips something just never felt right, and I was finally able to identify that “something” when I returned to campus recently.
Returning to campus for class, reminded me of those various sights and sounds that I had forgotten the feeling of experiencing pre-Covid-19. The buzz of campus that I grew up with and experienced 17 months ago was seemingly back. Seeing, hearing, and being a part of the crowds of people made me genuinely excited, a feeling that I think a lot of people have not had a lot of recently. As someone who has always enjoyed learning, it was discouraging to find myself resenting Zoom-based classes. Being back in-person, I found myself able to enjoy the experience of learning as it once again felt like everyone was an important part of the experience instead of another faceless “participant”.
This reminder of all the things I loved and missed about the in-person experience is bittersweet. Three of my four classes this semester are once again online, and already in these first weeks I have found it hard to enjoy those classes. I know that I must power through these struggles, and having my in-person experience two times a week has proven to rejuvenate and re-energize me just enough to do so thus far. At the end of the day, you must make the best of what you are given. While I do wish that I had more opportunities for in-person learning, I still feel blessed to have the opportunities that I do. I hope that one day we can return to the old normal, but until then I will embrace this new normal and what it has to offer.