Happy first week of classes, Tar Heels!
We’re nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and things are still looking quite different. Remote classes have become the new normal, and it’s been a long time since most of us set foot in a classroom (Carroll Hall, I miss you).
I'm a senior, so this semester will be my last. I always thought my last first day of class would be filled with excitement, but it was pretty anti-climactic — I barely even left my room. Honestly, I didn’t feel much excitement at all.
The UNC I’m attending now looks and feels nothing like it did when I got here. I miss lunch at Lenoir Hall, the sound of the Bell Tower and running into friends on the quad. I miss late nights in Davis Library, lecture halls and the chaos of class changes. All of that feels like it happened in a past life, and I’m left thinking about how I took so much of it for granted.
Now, most of us are jaded and disillusioned after years of scandal and institutional betrayal. As one of my coworkers put it: "This is the first FDOC I've had where it feels like nobody has any hope anymore."
For some, this week is a beginning; for others, it’s the beginning of the end. First-year and transfer students are still trying to find their place on a campus that doesn’t yet feel like home. Meanwhile, my fellow seniors and I are grappling with the fact that our last semester at UNC looks nothing like we’d imagined.
The world is falling apart around us. And the worst part of it all? We can't do anything except hold on. In true UNC fashion, a new semester gives way to new uncertainties — and we're left feeling more helpless than hopeful.
Will we make it through the semester without a scandal? Are we going to have class in-person? Will we ever be good at basketball again? What happens after we graduate?
It’s easy to feel isolated while living life at a distance, especially when all of your social interactions take place behind a mask. But we aren't alone. As we log into Zoom for the thousandth time, I want to remind you all of one thing: take care of yourselves, and each other. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past year, it’s that we don’t always have to live life on high speed. We have to slow down sometimes. We are good enough where we are.
I don't know how to make the best out of a bad situation. But maybe right now, it doesn't matter. It’s been a difficult year for all of us, and we’re still adjusting. We’re learning to be okay with not knowing what comes next. We’re still figuring it out — together.
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