During the fall semester, I made a difficult decision. I decided to file for remote accommodations with Le Moyne College. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the unknown nature of the return to campus, I decided to remain at home in western Massachusetts and begin my sophomore year from my bedroom via Zoom. Now, I’ve returned to Le Moyne for the second half of the year, and I couldn’t be happier to be back.
Making the decision to go fully remote seemed like a simple one at the time. I did not want to deal with the risk of exposure to Covid-19 and having to quarantine, or deal with the very real possibility of moving back home early because of possible out-of-control outbreaks on campus. I filed for remote accommodations, and when I was granted them, I pulled out of my housing commitment, set up my bedroom at home for remote learning, and that was that.
The first six weeks of the semester were alright. They were lonely, no doubt, but I didn’t necessarily feel like I was missing out on anything. I felt safe, and as if I could concentrate without the fear of getting Covid-19 hanging over me and sitting at the back of my mind constantly. Then, campus slowly began allowing more activities. My daily routine of doing class from my bed in my pajamas started to lose its appeal. I missed my friends at school three hours away from my home, and I began to long for the place where I had made a home for myself months prior in the pre-pandemic world.
I made a trip to Syracuse in mid-October following all the proper protocols and guidelines for preventing and staying safe from Covid-19. I was able to see a few friends, and even drive by and walk through some outside parts of campus since I came on a weekend blessed with out-of-the-ordinary warm temperatures for Syracuse in the fall. When I got in the car to go back home that Sunday, I wanted nothing more than to stay. When I got home, it became impossible to adjust, and soon, returning to campus on my mind daily.
I reached out to the school, applied for spring housing, and set the date for which I returned. When it got pushed back, I got frustrated, despite knowing that it would be safer if we waited an additional two weeks. Returning to Le Moyne was so close I could almost reach out and grab it, but it felt like it was moving further and further away.
Finally the day came. I packed up, made the drive once again, and now I’m back here at Le Moyne, attending hybrid classes and full Zoom classes. Being back is definitely strange. It feels like no time has passed as slipping back into my old routine came easily, yet so much has changed. In total, I was gone from campus for almost 11 months to the date. Coming back brings so much nostalgia yet so much curiosity as I learn of all the things that changed and all the new rules I did not know about when I returned. Learning these new safety habits are a whole new experience. It makes me feel like I’m a freshman again in some ways.
Particularly, weekly testing has been something I needed to get used to. Building time into my schedule to head down to the AC, get swabbed, and make it back up for class whether it be in my dorm or the academic buildings has been a bit of a challenge, but it has become a part of my routine over these last few weeks.
Mainly, I’m happy to be back around people. I enjoy seeing my suite-mates and interacting with them without masks on after months of being in basic self-isolation. I enjoy seeing my other friends and interacting with them despite the masks, the distance, and the other physical distance to keep us safe.
Despite the climate of the world, I’ve never felt happier since the start of this pandemic. Being away for so long, you take for granted so many things about the college experience, even the things you don’t always enjoy. I feel privileged to have been able to return, and to be a part of a community that is doing its part to make sure we fight the pandemic and finish out the semester once again, and not only that, but also make the best of it. Being back for in-person learning, and living on campus, I feel extremely lucky to even have the chance to be here, and I know its one that I will soak up every little minute of.