Nervous. Excited. Anxious. Hesitant.
These are just some of the mixed emotions that I am feeling about my return to Tulane’s campus in a few weeks. Back in March, we quickly packed our bags and said goodbye to our friends and our campus as we headed into a nationwide lockdown. To cheer myself up I found myself constantly telling myself “we will all come back stronger than ever”, thinking that we would only return to campus when things were back to normal.
Yet, here I am, getting ready to pack for my long awaited return, and that isn’t the case. COVID-19 cases have reached new extremes in different locations every week, and unlike when it first reached the US months ago and we college students seemed invincible, it’s now affecting a large amount of people our age. We are going back to campus, but things will be nowhere near ‘normal’. But among all of my many emotions and doubts about how we will navigate our normal life at Tulane, excitement takes over the rest. Things may be very different this semester, but it’s up to us to find our new normal. After much thought, I’ve decided that, at least for me, here’s how:
- Social Life
It’s no doubt that Tulane’s social life is part of that beloved student experience. It’s Thursdays at F&Ms, Boot Happy’s, and (for some reason) those sweaty nights in a way-too-crowded fraternity basement that students look forward to every week. Thinking about student life without these rituals can seem boring to many, but it’s up to us to find new ways to have a low-risk social life. For incoming freshmen and those in dorms, use this time to really get to know the people living down the hall from you. For those living off-campus, it can be easy to feel isolated from the rest of campus. If you’re anything like me, the thought of not meeting new people every weekend or seeing friendly faces around campus is sad. However, I am looking forward to taking advantage of this time and getting closer with my small group of friends and my housemates. Throw an outside potluck dinner party, play card games, have a picnic, or try new recipes with your housemates. Whatever it is, if you’re with your friends, you’re going to have fun.
We’re lucky that we have the Reily Recreation Center planning a reopening for our use. However, with new rules and safety guidelines, things will definitely be different. There are also going to be people who will want to minimize any possible risks which might mean removing their Reily session’s from their daily schedule. But, we are lucky enough to live in a warm, beautiful city. Now is the perfect chance to take advantage of that and utilize our nature for your workouts. Walking in Audubon Park, doing an outside yoga class, or going on a bike ride are great ways to still stay active without having to use gym equipment. There are also a variety of ways to attend a workout class virtually. Planet Fitness, Chloe Ting, and Yoga with Adriene are just a few great YouTube resources. Instagram is also growing as a workout platform as studios, such as Orange Theory and Rumble, have been taking to Instagram Live to host live workout sessions. Doing these with friends or roommates can be a great way to stay motivated, fit, and have fun.
It can be hard for me to find the motivation to get work done in an online class. I’m the type of person who is thinking about the Netflix show I am going to watch the second my Zoom call ends. While I actually look forward to showing up to my classes every day and dread an online course, I know that everyone has a different preference. This is why Tulane’s decision to have a mix of in-person and online classes this semester is actually extremely beneficial to us. If you don’t like that one of your classes went online, there’s still time to find those small in-person classes and see if there’s space for you. Tulane is also being very accommodating to those who wish to complete all of their classes online. The temporary classrooms with seats spread apart can seem extremely daunting, but rather than dreading the thought of sitting in one of those classes with my mask bothering me for an hour and fifteen minutes, I’m choosing to instead be grateful that we are one of the few schools offering some in-person classes this semester.
Clubs and organizations have been a huge part of my Tulane experience thus far. I’m lucky enough to have found multiple clubs that have shaped my time on campus. Being that these clubs and organizations consist of well over fifteen people, I am fully expecting an online experience. While this might not be the same experience, I encourage incoming freshmen, and even returning students, to continue seeking out and joining these clubs and organizations. Especially in a time where social life isn’t going to be as prevalent, these are great tools for meeting new people. An online experience does not mean no experience, and I am sure that each group will find new ways to foster a community. With that said, the 2020 Virtual Fall Activities Expo is September 6 and is a great opportunity for learning more and signing up!
This semester is going to look different in so many aspects. But it’s important that we follow the guidelines put in place to keep our campus safe and prevent us from reversing the progress that New Orleans has made in regards to COVID-19 cases. While this means so many of our beloved activities are out of the picture, it doesn’t mean that we can’t find new, safe ways to have fun and create new rituals.
So among those mixed emotions that I’m sure many of you are feeling about our return, I encourage you to keep excitement at the top of the list. Although things won’t be the same, I am confident that we will all make the most out of the circumstances and have a unique and unforgettable semester. It’s all about the perspective. Remember that.
Oh, and finally — wear your mask!!!!