Looking around campus these last three weeks, I am continuously shocked by how many students I see walking around.
Ever since we shifted to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have become totally unfamiliar with actually being on campus. Doing things like, going to class and other activities that had been part of my everyday life during the first half of my time here at Fairfield, now feel foreign.
I lived in the townhouses last year, and only came down to the main part of campus very rarely. My roommates and I took most of our classes online from my house.
One of the things that I have loved about Fairfield’s campus is the way that it has always felt so fun and full of people. When you walked anywhere on campus, you would see people talking to their friends, doing work, and you would even get to see your professors taking part in campus activities. This made Fairfield feel like you were part of something bigger than yourself, and helped to create that amazing sense of community that makes Fairfield so special.
Last year, because so many people were still doing their classes online, you could walk through the center of campus and not see anyone. This shift back to people being on campus is a welcoming sight, and it makes the campus feel like home again.
Now as a senior living at the beach, I feel like we are all being asked to transition back to being on campus, even as upperclassmen. At the beginning of this year, I remember going to so many places on campus that felt brand new to me again, despite me being a student here for four years.
I can’t even imagine what it is like for the current class of sophomores who never even had the opportunity to get to know what campus was like pre-COVID. There are so many aspects of campus life that we are unacquainted with because of the changes that we experienced for the last year and a half, both on and off campus.
One of the things that I am so happy about is the return to in-person club meetings. I am in the glee club here on campus and we were rehearsing online for the entirety of last year. Singing alone in my dorm room is just not the same as being at rehearsal with 50 other people. Even here at The Mirror, we were able to have our first in-person pitch meeting two weeks ago and it makes such a difference from just having people sign up online.
I do think that this change can be difficult for people, even though we are all glad to be getting back to normal. I think it would be impossible to ignore the massive shifts in lifestyle we are all having to go through. Going to clubs and events in person can be overwhelming after not being able to for a year and a half, and I know that many people can feel the effects of this change. However, despite the fact that everyone is a lot more busy than last year, the benefits of getting to be social in person again completely outweigh the cons. There is no substitute for being able to be around your friends and meet new people in person.
Besides clubs and events, classes are also back to being in person. I personally have always enjoyed being in the classroom better than being at home. I would be happy if I never had to open the Zoom app again, but there is something to be said for the massive change that is to go back to in-person classes.
Even though last semester was meant to be “hybrid” the majority of my classes remained mostly online, or we only went in-person one day a week. Even though this move can be difficult to handle, I think that talking with your peers and being able to chat with your professors in person is so helpful to the learning process. Maybe I have this kind of excitement for being in the classroom because I am an education major, but I think that everyone can benefit from being in the classroom.
In short, Fairfield is back to being bustling with life and full of people once again, and everything’s right in the world. Even though this change back to what campus looked like a year and a half ago is amazing and exciting, there are still going to be major effects on students and staff alike from the last year and a half.