At the Foghorn, we miss spending quality time together at our in-person staff meetings, and spotting our peers walking around campus with print issues of the week’s newspaper in hand. As we prepare to finally return to campus this fall, we are met with equal parts anxiety and excitement. This week, we share our thoughts on our impending return, how we have changed since campus shut down over a year ago, and how we can all return with a renewed sense of gratitude.
With social distancing measures in effect on campus, in-person learning will be different than in semesters past. After so long on Zoom, it’s hard to imagine what it’ll feel like to be in an actual classroom again — not to mention, for many, it’ll be their first time in a college classroom setting at all. It will be an adjustment to interact personally with other students and professors again, especially those we’ve never met face to face. There is also no telling what each of our courses may look like, depending on how professors interpret the in-person, hybrid, or remote models of learning. While it’s scary to think about how quickly our lives can be uprooted, especially considering how quickly our time on campus was cut short the first time, we’re more than ready to lug our backpacks up the steps of Lone Mountain and feel engaged again with the campus community.
If there has been one downside to online learning that we can all agree on, it’s that staring at a screen has made our brains go absolutely numb. College burnout existed before the pandemic, but “Zoom burnout” has brought us to new lows. We used to look forward to classes, but staring at a screen for hours has caused us to grow tired of them, so we find ourselves going through the motions. It will be a welcome change of pace to sit in a classroom and feel a professor’s passion for a subject radiating off of them. Not to mention seeing a room full of faces, not just gray boxes.
However, Zoom has reminded us that each student has a unique way of learning. Online learning has pushed us all to figure out how, when, and where we can focus. One of the biggest challenges of college is figuring out our strengths and weaknesses, while learning self-control and compartmentalization. We are grateful to have been forced to become more self-aware this year about how to best set ourselves up for success.
When we finally return to USF in the fall, it will be important to cherish every moment with friends and make the most of all that we have missed about the college experience. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and make new friends, because, even for continuing students, it’s been more than a year since we’ve seen most of our USF friends and you never know how people may have changed.
Ultimately, though, to make the most of our return to campus, we urge you to take in the little things — the late night library study sessions, hikes up Lone Mountain, and late night caf runs — and not to take them for granted. We encourage you to put your homework aside every now and then, take a shift off from work, and push an errand until the next day. Instead, go run through Golden Gate Park with a friend, act like a tourist at Fisherman’s Wharf, go to an on-campus event, or just relax on the green of Gleeson Plaza. If being away has taught us anything, it’s that we miss the little things the most.