Life as we know it has changed so much due to COVID-19. We were quickly forced to adapt to a virtual world. Now that things are somewhat going back to “normal,” there are still a few long-lasting effects of quarantine that I am having trouble getting rid of; one being physical touch.
We spent over a year with minimal touching; constantly reminded to stay six feet away from people through social media, the news, and even the lifting stickers in the grocery store. I found a way to live without hugging the ones I love most. Ironically, not hugging them was the best way to show love and affection because it meant you cared enough to keep them safe. Now we’re back to slowly getting close again, and I can’t lie, it feels weird. I’m no longer comfortable with hugging, and I even struggle with knowing when it is okay and when it isn’t. The awkward stage when saying “Bye” to someone is now even more awkward because I’m not sure what to do anymore.
Another effect is that I now prefer virtual meetings and classes. Of course, sometimes I miss social interaction, my peers, and my friends; but being able to sit at home in my pajamas with my camera off was definitely a perk. It allowed me to have the freedom that I didn’t have anymore. I could be in a different state and still be able to carry out business seamlessly. Since we’re back in person, I have to get used to being more attentive and paying attention the first time because lectures and meetings are no longer recorded.
I left college as a sophomore, and now I am finally back on campus as a senior.
It is so difficult to say that because so much time was truly lost. I get depressed just thinking about it. I left college on a spring break that lasted over a year. It was hard realizing that some friends weren’t coming back to campus; either graduated early or decided to transfer. There is genuinely a significant gap in campus life, and it seems like the elephant in the room. No one knows anyone. There are two classes and some transfers that we know nothing about. The senior class is tiny now, and we all, in a way, are just floating by. It is hard to recognize who’s who when it comes to face masks and not seeing each other for a while.
COVID took a lot away from students, and honestly, everyone. It is a devastating time, and we all are handling it the best we can, the best way we know how. Many lives were lost, and many people are still struggling with recovering or fighting the virus. Times are different, and I can’t help but wonder what the “new normal” has in store for us. Stay safe, guys!
Header: Andre Hunter