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What I Learned From Last Semester: A student reflects on how the fall semester changed her outlook.

I don’t think any of us expected our time in college to look this way. I certainly didn’t. After having to leave so quickly almost a year ago (can you believe it’s almost March again?), I don’t have anything in my room that I can’t either fit in two suitcases or throw away without a qualm. I wash my masks every week and match my outfits to the patterns on them. I wear two pairs of socks to sit outside Breezeway and talk to my friends who live in different dorms. It’s not what I thought my college experience would look like, but at this point, I’m grateful to have any college experience at all.

I learned some things from last semester, though. I’m slowly getting better at navigating the rules and regulations, and I’m managing to see people regardless. One thing I took away from last semester was that, if I don’t make people a priority, I won’t see anyone. I was often lonely last semester, and if I’m honest, I’m still lonely this semester; I’m fairly confident that I’m not alone in feeling that way. If you can, find two or three person games like chess or Go to play in places that have restrictions on occupancy, like the lounges, or use online party packs like Jackbox to connect with larger groups. Many apps have also incorporated watch-party features so you can watch movies with friends without breaking any rules.

I learned last semester that walks can keep me sane when I’m stuck in the same route of moving from the classroom to the dorm room. Now that hiking off campus is permitted, I’m really looking forward to going hiking when the weather gets less bitingly frigid. I also learned to allow myself little luxuries last semester. I ordered delivery and take-out when I felt like it and I got my dreadfully unhealthy favorite drink from JJ to keep my spirits up. I know that I can’t be as strict with myself as I’d like to be during these semesters, and I have to give myself some grace.

I came to that last conclusion with my counsellor at CCAS. I started going to CCAS last semester, and it’s been really helping me regulate my mental health when I’m lonely, stressed, or overwhelmed. I know that I need to focus on what I can control right now. As you’re all probably sick of hearing, we’re living in a world that we never expected to be coping with a year ago. Do what you can. It’s all anyone can do right now.

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