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The return to in-person classes after a year of hybrid learning

by Simone Crowder

The last day I spent on my high school campus before isolation was a gloomy one, both literally and metaphorically. With the most intense feeling of uneasiness and concern, I walked down the steps following the double doors of the main entrance with droplets of rain littering my jacket. They invaded my space and comfort, acting as a blaring forewarning to the fact that I would not be walking in that same spot again until the following year.

Isolation. A term that once meant simply being alone now gained a new definition. An overwhelming cascade effect of “what ifs” and “maybes” resulting from the massive impact of the pandemic on our lives translated instead to feeling alone. This loneliness was only emphasized by the entirety of our learning environment being abruptly thrust into small screens or socially distanced classrooms.

However, our isolation began to diminish as a new semester of our new school year began. BU returned to all in-person learning this fall, and students and faculty alike are eager to be back in the classroom.

Nostalgia permeates the atmosphere. Sarah Valger (COM ‘25), a new face to BU, reflected on her experience with classes online and what she has learned now that she is back for a fresh start on campus.

“It’s less of a skill but more of an appreciation for my education and being in school. It’s something I really took advantage of.”

Professor William Giraldi, a master lecturer in the writing program at BU, also explains that “face-to-face is the only real way to teach and learn, so it's a relief to be back in the classroom, even if I can see only half the faces of my students.”

It’s so radically human to crave connection. Despite the turmoil, the paradoxical truth of this experience is that we have much more solidarity with each other than we ever could have imagined, perfectly embodied and visualized in our return as a community.

Just as it did before my own journey through the pandemic started, the sky in Boston quickly turned from a bright blue to a hazy gray. Rain fell onto my sleeves once again, this time with a new incentive of hope. Perhaps these droplets will serve as an omen of more good things to come.


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