Time has flown by this year, and it has been a whirlwind of emotion for everyone. There have been ups and downs, but this spring is showing a bloom for the hope of the next school year. 

President Lawrence Schovanec recently announced to the Texas Tech community that fall 2021 will be returning to normal capacity for inside the classrooms. Whether to wear masks or not to will be determined later, regardless, this is good news for some students. 

For other students, it is a different story. This pandemic has made students comfortable. Whether that is doing classes purely online or hybrid, a mixture of online and in-person, bringing back the normal is not a good thing for the mindset of students. 

Online classes have made schedules flexible. Students do not need to go to class, but class goes to the students. By having the option to take class anywhere, more free time is given to the student.

If the option to have online classes is completely diminished, deciding what classes to take will have to be given more thought. Location and times are now considered as Tech’s campus covers a lot of ground.

As a first-year student and first year here at Tech, my experience has been different from most. Everyone can say they had new experiences to this updated school year, but the students who were specifically new this year, being online is all they know.

It may be my sophomore year next year, but it will feel like my first. It was good to hear that life is slowly going back to normal, but instantly I am worried that my college life would collapse. 

All the students who came into college as new students during the pandemic have gotten used to this virtual lifestyle. Online books, lessons, and even exams. It is a wonder how much of a change it will be from switching from online to in person. 

Whether that be finding classrooms, interacting with students or in-person homework and quizzes. The first-year students of fall 2021 and students of fall 2020 will coincide with the experience of Tech pre-pandemic. 

The only reason it is a scary thought of reverting to college normalcy is that there needs to be another new adjustment. Tech prepared students for the COVID-19 protocols, but are there protocols for common college knowledge? 

While it may seem crazy to comprehend, the pandemic brought luxury to attending college. According to Pew Research Center, 54 percent of Americans want to continue to work from home after the pandemic.

The same mindset goes for college students. By doing lessons from home, college students find themselves having more time. Of course, school comes above all priorities, but with the flexible online scheduling, greater leisure options have opened for college students.

With less time commuting to class, work is all done from a computer, which in turn means students have the freedom to explore personal interests that they used to say they did not have the time for. As well as take the time they need for themselves. 

Mental health is a crucial part of a college students’ life. This can be easily forgotten though in the swamp of in-person classes, in-person student organizations and other commitments. 

The plan to go back to that lifestyle puts anxieties and concerns over how a student’s life will change, again. A year is a long enough time to be used to a situation. To just revert may not be as easy as it sounds.

The Pew Research study might be only analyzing adults working remotely; however, the same correlation can be applied to students. It seems like a lot more effort to change back to our old lifestyle where we were physically exhausting ourselves.

With remote learning, we create a balance between school and personal life.

Nonetheless, there are pros and cons to having normalcy again. With returning to school fully, those experiences Tech sold its students will now be truly fulfilled. Hopefully, this means events will return and traditions as well. 

In a way, this is the finish line we have all been looking for. The pandemic taught us many things. To endure, to stay positive and to remember it was temporary. Now, being close to that finish line, it may be scary.

Nevertheless, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is we are adaptable. The change will always be there, but it is how we react that makes it meaningful.

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