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BWW BLOG: Climbing Uphill - College Life 2020

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BWW BLOG: Climbing Uphill - College Life 2020

BWW BLOG: Climbing Uphill - College Life 2020

This year has been crazy.

As I attempt to navigate the fall semester of my senior year, I'm finding that this is not what I expected my experience to be. And that's not a bad thing, it's just... a different thing.

I'm a Music Theater major at Oklahoma City University, a small, private Methodist university in the heart of Oklahoma City. You would think, based on the climate of the surrounding area, that we would be shut down by now, as this is the reality already endured by many other universities across the US. However, I think our school is doing alright.

We receive a weekly email updating us on the school's alert level, the county's alert level, and the number of active cases we have on campus. If we've been in indirect contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, we are sent an email reminding us to track our health and notify officials if we feel unwell. If we have come in direct contact with someone who tested positive, we are required to get tested immediately and self-quarantine until we receive our results. So far our cases have been under control, and we haven't had any mass breakouts of the virus.

I think part of the reason our school has been so successful in keeping our numbers low is because of the overall dedication of the students and staff. Attending such a liberal school means everyone (generally) is super in tune with the importance of safety and are taking the necessary precautions during this pandemic. Students wear masks in class, outside of class, frequently wash their hands, etc., and it's making a big difference.

Teachers are also doing a fantastic job in keeping our classes safe. Almost all of my professors adhere to strict COVID-19 protocols; meaning they have students maintain social distance, keep class sizes small, and make sure students are sanitizing surfaces before and after class. Teachers are also offering hybrid solutions for classes with larger numbers, and are providing extended office hours to account for the strain that online learning can put on someone's understanding of the course work.

Despite all of these incredible efforts by faculty and staff, I feel absolutely drained.

Online classes can be hard, and school can become trying when breaks are eliminated from the campus calendar to account for a shortened semester time frame. Everything keeps piling up and many students are feeling the burn of what feels like a never-ending semester.

I didn't actually realize until now how many small things I took for granted. Perhaps that's the mix of my college senior mentality with the desire for the life I lived pre-COVID-19. Everything is so overwhelmingly different now, and living at a university 15 hours from home just adds to it.

I miss giving my friends hugs. I miss going to my friends' house and dog-piling on the couch as we watch a bad movie. I miss seeing people's smiles and seeing their noses scrunch up when they laugh. I also miss having a college experience where the only thing I worried about was the mid-term that I was woefully unprepared for. I miss the celebration of my birthday and blowing out the candles on the cake we bought at Walmart. College is still going, but it's nowhere near the experience I had before. And I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do after graduation...

I also understand that many others have it way worse than I do. People are losing their jobs and their lives due to an uncaring government, and watching the world around me slip away is just the reminder I need to help me realize that nothing is permanent. Seeing people around me suffering makes me feel like my petty little college complaints aren't even valid, but I hope this article helps someone who finds themselves in a similar mindset know that they aren't alone in this.

Part of me wishes I had taken a semester off, but the other part of me knows that this pandemic isn't going anywhere soon. I sincerely appreciate all the efforts my school has put forth to stay safely operational, and I genuinely hope that someday we'll be able to return to some sort of normal, or at least compromise for something different than where we are now.

Humans adapt and overcome, and this situation we are sharing is just another test we need to pass.


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From This Author Jessica Vanek