Five months. That’s how long it’s been since I last stepped foot on campus. I can’t remember what it was like going to class anymore because, like everyone else, I spent the remaining two months of the spring semester behind a computer screen.
During those final two months, it was a weird feeling. I had had a routine of commuting 45 minutes from my home to Rowan for my classes two to three days a week, getting to campus an hour before my classes began, and praying that there was parking available. That routine changed to getting out of bed and opening up my laptop and my phone as backup, in case my Zoom call lagged when I was talking.
If I have to be honest, it was nice not having to drive all the way to Rowan during those final two months. I didn’t have to worry about parking and I didn’t have to dread the long drive back home when I was finished for the day because all I had to do was leave the meeting. As with my internship, I saved a lot of money and mileage because I was home.
Summer rolled around and we were still under quarantine so I used the remaining quarantine just relaxing and trying to enjoy the season in any way possible. Then, I got called back to work and then the reality hit that the state was reopening. That summer flew by because I spent it working and writing a book.
August rolled around and that meant that the semester was quickly approaching. I was actually looking forward to going back given that it was going to be my final semester at Rowan. I wanted to make the most of it and create some final memories, but we were still not sure how the semester was going to take place given the COVID-19 restrictions.
Another thing that popped into my head was that it had been awhile since I stepped foot on campus. I was curious to see how things were going to be, given the weird circumstances surrounding what has happened this entire year. Was everything going to be back to normal?
That wasn’t the biggest obstacle, however, as I tried to mentally put my focus back on school. All I did during virtual learning and the rest of summer was sit at home, watch TV and do nothing. If you don’t count work, I was pretty much accustomed to doing nothing, and it felt nice.
That meant I had to transition from being a lame duck to doing something productive. Given how it looked like I was going to campus for one class, that was another thing that I wasn’t ready for. I didn’t know what to expect and I pretty much dreaded going back to school. Not that I didn’t want to go back, but I just felt it was too soon, even though it’s been a long layoff.
I’ll never forget when the first day of classes began. I had one online and one on-campus class. My online class was first and then my next class didn’t begin until 3:30. There was so much parking available that I felt dumb that I got there an hour before my class. I was so used to getting there early that I forgot that everything was going to be different. I even posted on my Snapchat story of the campus and my best friend replied, “damn, you just started school?” to which I followed up with, “trust me, I wasn’t ready to go back.”
I thought that maybe the first two weeks could get me back to focusing on the regular workload that I was accustomed to, but to be honest, I’m still not in it mentally and it’s been almost a month. Maybe it’s because this is my last semester and I’m just counting down the days to December, but I’m just not as focused now as I was during previous semesters.
Maybe it’s a process; as Joel Embiid would always say, “trust the process.” Maybe I should start trusting the process.
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