After returning from a break one of the most important times of the semester is the first week. It’s where you set the tone for how you will navigate the year and start building your routine. Well, this falls’ first week was nothing short of unique. With all of the new COVID-19 regulations now being put into practice, we now have a better idea of what is expected of us while around campus. As well as what will be changing for us in the classroom. 

Now if the usual first week of handing out the syllabus and taking forever to get through it, corny icebreaker activities and struggling to find a seat can feel energy draining well some things have changed. In most of my classes that have in-person instruction there is assigned seating to adhere to the social distancing protocols. This felt very elementary at first, but I realized I like the idea of not even having to think about where I’ll be at in each class and being a couple seats away from others didn’t bother me in the slightest. The best part of the changes is the almost total elimination of the icebreaker, which is incredible news for someone like me who prefers to get to know someone in a more natural way. The idea of the activity itself isn’t that unpleasant, the point is just to get to know a little about the others you are going to be around, but the execution is always so forced and ends up meaningless. Most times you end up finding out something really trivial about the person like their favorite color or favorite food.

One of the other things that slows down the first week is the syllabus overview in every class. Usually it’s boring because you hear the same things over and over again, which is still somewhat true because syllabi can only change so much. Although this time around it feels like the online class environment where the class expectations are online, but we don’t need to keep going over it. Overall the pace of these classes already feels faster than before and that’s something I’ve enjoyed so far. With these things knocked out of the first week experience, it feels like we are getting straight into all the interesting things we’ll learn throughout this semester which is refreshing. 

So, with all things considered I had a great first week back on campus. I am glad Texas Tech made all the guidelines they could in such a short amount of time to make in-person instruction possible during a pandemic. Some of these changes to classes that COVID forced on us should actually stick around, because most of them scratch that introverted itch within me. I am now just hoping we will be able to finish out the semester in this way. While there is evidence pointing against that, I am choosing to remain optimistic especially after such a great start.

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