College is not easy. 

This is more a statement of fact than opinion. And spending the past year and a half–if you count that awkward moment when we were told to pack up our belongings and leave school to finish the semester at home–on Zoom University was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do during my college career. 

Yet, if I learned anything from this past year it’s that “what zoom takes, zoom gives”. Wise words spoken by one of the many instructors in one of the abundance of classes I took through a computer screen. I do not recall the context, but I remember the sentiment with which the words were spoken: 
Everything may seem in despair right now, but with the lows also come highs.

It is now 5 weeks into my senior year, and I am sitting in my off-campus apartment typing these words to you, full of nostalgia for the things I hadn’t realized I had missed so much.

College is not easy.

In fact, (and to be very blunt) peeling myself out of bed to sit in front of a computer screen every day for an entire school year made me into a perpetual ball of stress adorn in fuzzy socks. What I lacked in motivation and energy I gained an abundance of in self-doubt.

To be honest, despite being back in-person at Washington University in St. Louis, I am still a ball of stress, except now I am a walking ball of stress. The difference?

This stress is one that does not feel isolating and lonesome. I freely rant about this stress to friends over lunch and am reminded that this stress is not mine alone. This stress does not confine me to my bed, nor does it convince me to stay indoors and cooped up. Being back on campus and surrounded by the buzz of campus life, the excitement of being able to attend a theater production once again (masks on, of course), the hurriedly rushing from one side of campus to the other, are all experiences I have missed. 

College is not easy.

Not in the slightest. But the people, lessons, and odd array of moments that make up the college experience are what truly make the ordinary stressors of college worthwhile.

So, here’s to a new academic year where we learn to take the good with the bad and truly appreciate this moment in history and in the world for all of it’s small joys.

You got this! WE got this!