Opinion: Freshman year part two – when things get real in the fall 

Last Tuesday, President Marissa Kelly announced Suffolk University’s plan to return to campus and resume student life at full capacity in the fall. This is dependent on Center for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines and how Boston plans to tackle Fall 2021 as more community members get vaccinated and gear towards herd immunity. 

Six months ago, this would have been the best possible news to hear. Student life is expected to resume, classes will be in person and life will start to go back to normal. Now, however, this email brings me stress and anxiety due to the drastic change that is going to occur. 

After a year living in the pandemic, with online classes, limited social interactions and distanced living, we are finally starting to get used to this way of life. We have learned new tactics for getting the best out of online learning, developed coping mechanisms for the isolation and separation from our friends and family and are finally starting to become okay with the current situation. 

Just as we gain some balance in our life, everything is about to shift once again. 

As a freshman, I came into life at Suffolk in the midst of the pandemic. I live alone on campus, in a very large room with my own bathroom. I attend my classes sitting at my dorm room desk, in my sweatpants most days, and I routinely get annoyed at the line of five people in the dining hall. My friends and I have movie nights in the lounge on the weekends and meet for dinner on the weekdays. 

I have a routine—–a rhythm I developed for my new life. The first semester was an incredibly hard transition from living with my family and I feel like I am grounded and comfortable in my routine here at Suffolk. 

Now, hearing the news that life is going back to some resemblance of normal next year is stressful. For me, that means living with other people, going to all my classes in person, having a much longer wait in the dining hall and having too many options to choose from in my social life.

While each of those opportunities are positive and I am excited for them all individually, receiving them all together is overwhelming. 

It looks like we’re going to be having freshman year part two; when things get real. 

As a whole, the news is inspiring hope that things will get better and life will be going back to normal. Normal promises all the aspects of college that I signed up for when I chose Suffolk a year ago. It’s going to be a bumpy ride and certainly will not be as luxurious as this year has been. But, we’ll make it through.

When life initially shifted, the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center and The Center for Learning and Academic Success stepped up. There has been so much support for learning on Zoom and the isolation that we are experiencing. The university has hosted many Zoom workshops geared towards students’ mental health and their success. 

If we move back to campus as planned, this environment will need to continue next year. As students, we will need the support as we adjust to the changes that in-person classes and resuming student life will bring. 

The Suffolk community has survived the change of the pandemic and we will survive once again when things return to normal. 

Hopefully, this change will bring excitement and hope to both the community of Suffolk and the Boston community. We are beginning to see the end of the pandemic, and while normal life will be a huge change, it’s a change we need to see.