What it’s like returning to campus after learning online

It’s on-campus moving day and then it’s the first day of Session One classes. The feelings of excitement and anxiety are overwhelming. Then you remember… You’ve been through this before!

I am one of many second-year university students whose first year will go down in history. Following six weeks of on-campus life, a lockdown and months of online study, here are some of my observations as a campus returner in a ‘COVID normal’ state.

A few more protocols

A noticeable change to campus was the hand sanitiser bottles and QR code check-ins at almost every corner. Our traditional Dag Night fun was altered by physical distancing measures, and it seems the unpredictable nature of COVID restrictions has resulted in the shrinking of on-campus class numbers. Nevertheless, it’s great to be back.

Muscle memory

Even though I am a second-year student, I admittedly only have six weeks of on-campus knowledge. Not having needed to use that knowledge for almost a year now, it was very much something I had to drag from the back shelves of my brain. So, when the first day of session came around and a first-year asked me where a certain lecture room was, I too had no idea. Instead of pointing out left and right directions, we both walked to a nearby map to work it out together.

A bit of a mix up

When acquainting myself with someone new, I have more often than not been asked if I am a first-year student. Having found stronger relatabilities to first-year students, I too have struggled to decipher who is new to campus life versus who is about to graduate.

Regaining what we missed

Humans are inherently social beings! And since our ‘COVID normal’ appears to be on an upward trajectory (touch wood!), it’s clear students have a stronger desire to socialise now more than ever.

Article written by Brooke Chandler.