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by Jessica Stevens

When I left for spring break in March, I packed only a backpack, thinking I would be returning to my dorm within a week. I never expected to be home for six months, and I certainly never expected the lasting impact those months would have on my mental health.

At the beginning of the stay-at-home order in March, quarantine almost seemed like a little vacation; that is when I thought it would only last a few weeks. All of the puzzles, paint by numbers and Netflix binging was fun...for a little while. Then, as months went by, the comparison of quarantine to a small vacation quickly disappeared.

For a few months, there was the looming question of whether we would be returning to campus. Oddly, I couldn’t decide what I hoped would happen. I wanted to come back to school and be reunited with my best friends, but I wasn’t sure how being isolated for six months would impact coming back. I had become so used to solely spending time with my family and binging “Grey’s Anatomy” that I became terrified that I forgot how to socialize. I was scared that if we did return to campus, I wouldn’t know how to act the way I used to before.

The lack of social interaction between the months of March and August is not something that can be easily forgotten. Those months were filled with more thinking and self-reflection than I ever thought possible.

When I heard the news that Boston University was fully returning to campus, I was filled with excitement, yet fear. How was I supposed to go from six months of pajama filled nights and days with my family to the constant social life of college? In my head there was the looming question of whether or not I even remembered how to socialize or be in college. Quarantine consisted of long walks with my family and endless board games; it had been so long since I felt like a normal college student.

Once I arrived at BU in August, I realized my fears were valid; it was going to take time to get back into staying up late and talking with friends or going out to dinner without only wearing sweatpants. I’ve been back in Boston for a little over a month now and I finally feel like things are starting to stabilize. I’m getting used to being away from home and away from the thousand piece puzzles. I’m getting used to not wearing pajamas 24/7 and forgetting what day of the week it is.

I often feel people forget that we are going through a global pandemic. A global pandemic is not something that should be brushed aside. It is something that many of has have never experienced before. We were all sent to our homes for months with little social interaction—how are we supposed to simply bounce back to normal after? We simply can’t.

It’ll take a long time for our world to get back to normal, and while this is happening it’s okay to be anxious. How can we not be? There’s no tip book on how to cope with a global pandemic, especially when you’re in your prime years of college. We all have to find our own ways to get through it and remember that this is unknown territory—and with unknown territory comes unknown emotions.


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