It has been six months since graduation and almost two years of COVID. I am still going through my stages of grief. I am blessed and privileged to have not lost anyone close nor have I financially struggled due to the pandemic. I am happy for the positives, or “Corona Upsides” as my dad calls them, like the opportunity to be a raft guide.
But I miss what life used to look like and the simple things in life that will never come back. Because things will not go back to “normal,” as we are already living in our new state of normalcy.
I went on a walk through my old college campus this week and it felt good to see students in the academic quad, a place that has been a ghost town the past year. Although I am forever thankful I had some college time before the pandemic, I am bummed and honestly bitter that my last two years of college were cut short.
I hate to admit this, but I was jealous of them. I was jealous they got to live little pieces of my old normal. I was jealous they got to be in this community with planned activities and surrounded by a similar age group. I would kill to be at P-House Late Night or an intramural spike ball game right now. I miss being inspired every day through a lecture or conversation. I miss being in a stage of life where I was meant to be naïve. Where it was okay to slightly screw up because this was the time to learn with minimal consequences.
But what I miss most are the moments that came from the few minutes of freedom during the passing period. Those 10 minute chunks of time between classes were my favorite parts of the day. If you had the joy of knowing me in college, then you probably know I was always juggling at least four things at once and didn’t drink coffee so I was running on pure adrenaline. So my passing period always included some sort of task to be completed when en route to the next class. I would plan my route based on time, printer location for the paper I forgot about, food spots or even sometimes where my path would strategically pass my crush so I could wave and think that simple action will somehow turn into a date.
But due to online school, and as a result no passing periods, I didn’t have the opportunity anymore to interact with those I wouldn’t see at the weekend party or virtually see in class. Passing periods are the equivalent of “taking a lap.” It turns out a walk from my room to the fridge does not have the same decompressing effect as sprinting from one building to the next in the rain. I chose my school size because I knew I would see at least one friendly face when walking across campus, but I could also meet someone new every day.
I wish I had the opportunity to grow relationships with more people during my last two years in Portland — the people who I was just starting to make a connection with before the world flipped upside down. People that I think would possibly be my closest friends today if we were not stuck in our homes apart for so long. I also mourn connections with the people I didn’t get to meet. The people I maybe would have bumped into when walking (sometimes lightly jogging) to my next class.
But here I am now in a brand-new city, much different from my secluded Portland bluff. This one doesn’t have an automated roommate generator. It doesn’t have 4,000 people in my age range living within a 2 mile radius. It doesn’t have a planned passing period where I get to see friendly faces. But on the bright side, I have plenty of new people to meet, it just will be a little harder than when I was in a new location four years ago.
I guess what I am trying to say is, if you are in college, enjoy all it has to offer and don’t take anything for granted, especially passing periods. If you meet someone cool, make that connection, don’t wait until you have already moved away.
If you are recently out of college, adulting is hard — hit me up if you need playlists to get you through the rollercoaster I call post grad (or if you think you were one of those missed connections). If you have been out of college for a while, drop some wisdom on us poor lost souls just released into your world with no training wheels. And COVID, in case you didn’t know, you still suck.
Erin Lynch is a UP alumni. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have something to say about this? We’re dedicated to publishing a wide variety of viewpoints, and we’d like to hear from you. Voice your opinion in The Beacon.