STUDENT AND THE CITY: What do we do when every day looks the same?


Student and the City is a column dedicated to asking the big questions that all college-aged students are asking. It will explore different social concepts within the younger generations regarding relationships, lifestyle, social media and more. 

As I walked through Suffolk University’s campus on a cold February morning, the comically severe wind didn’t blind me the way it used to. I did not have to dodge the crowds of hurried, angry students rushing to the library to print their last minute paper before their class. I was not shamefully out of breath from walking nine stories in my winter coat because swarms of students were attempting to cram into the illogical elevators. Other than a couple of masked-up individuals strolling between buildings, it was empty and quiet—and I missed all those minor inconveniences that would make my days interesting.

With online learning and COVID-19 limitations, all the days seem to blend together. I sit in my apartment each day, waiting for the next day to come. I look forward to the weekdays just as much as I do the weekends.

The question is: Can we really expect to have the traditional college experience when every day looks the same?

We are not experiencing anything new. If you have been following the suggested pandemic protocols, you spend time only with my small quarantine bubble. We are not attending events in the way we would pre-COVID as a college student. When you attend an event, you wear something new, meet new people, go somewhere new, maybe even eat or hear something new. Instead, we are wearing the same three pairs of loungewear sets sitting in the permanent dent in our couches rewatching the same Netflix series. We are snacking on the same banana bread we have all learned to make on Tiktok over the initial quarantine and telling our close friends the same story for the tenth time over.  

In a COVID-free year, the cold would stop students from venturing out of their dorms and experiencing the city. There is something about Boston winters that discourages you from walking out the door at all. Now with the risk of contracting or spreading the disease, our doors seem to be permanently closed to any chance of fun or change. 

We have to work harder to create memories and make the best of our days when every day is the same. It is more difficult now more than ever to romanticize our lives. While this is true, in this year, new things have become essential and interesting to us. 

Personally, since the moment the pandemic hit our shores, I have been able to dedicate more time to healthy eating and exercising. I have realized how important it is to educate myself on current news and issues that I had not taken the time or effort to before. Daily walks with my family, or friends or alone have become a part of my routine. Investing in the right friends and reaching out to distant family members add some variety and quality to my days. 

Self-care has become increasingly important to college students. We have been forced to spend time alone with ourselves and our thoughts in physical and social isolation. According to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Samueli Integrative Health Programs, 64% of respondents said they are more focused on their mental health now than ever before. 

The answer is, we truly cannot expect the traditional college experience because every day does look the same. Instead, we must expect a different college experience. While our days do not change, we are still experiencing new things. We have been introduced to new appreciations, passions and tasks that have become essential in our lives and that we can bring with us in the future, as we would traditional memories.