Expectations Not Met

Life has changed drastically since the start of the pandemic, and it continues to change. In the beginning of 2020, we were attending school like we always had. Completing work, maintaining a social life, and attending classes was all I knew. When the pandemic hit, students and teachers had to learn to adjust to the new normal. For me, that adjustment was not easy. I found myself struggling to adapt to these new conditions, the environment, and expectations.

In the beginning of lockdown, some of my professors lightened the workload while others created more work because we “were just sitting at home.” This caused me to have a lot of difficulty remaining positive in such dark times and caused me to have a lack of motivation surrounding my work.

I don’t count last semester as returning to normal, as we still were not completely back on campus. I believe this semester is the first to getting us back to normal. We aren’t exactly back to normal, but we are on the tracks to getting there.

At the start of this semester, I was overwhelmed. Going from being completely remote to returning to in person was a shock. Some professors decided to ease back into things, but not all of my professors had those same thoughts. When the semester started, I had thought we would be sent home again or convert to virtual, I did not think anyone would be wearing their masks, and I thought it would be just like before the pandemic. I was hopeful that when the halfway point of the semester came we would be maskless, I thought we would have more in person events. This semester has yet to meet those expectations. I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Some of my professors have been assigning so much in-class work that we cannot get through all of it, causing it to be assigned for homework (on top of the homework that was already assigned). I don’t remember this being a thing before the pandemic. It is hard for me to tell if I am failing to meet expectations or if professors are expecting too much of me.

When returning to in-person learning, I forgot to account for the adjustment in learning everyone has had to go through. Today’s society is a lot different than that of early 2020, and even from just a few months ago. I am constantly learning and adjusting to the world as it changes. I thought returning to in person classes and everything I did before the pandemic would be easy. I thought I would feel like I was just going through routine. That was not the case. I had to learn that this was the new normal and that will keep changing. I had to create and practice a new routine.

For a good portion of the semester, I felt like I was drowning. Sometimes I still feel that way. But I am not drowning—I am learning and growing as I navigate this new world, which is hard, but I am surviving. Even when I think one more assignment piled on my plate will push me over the edge, I remember how far we have all come and how much I have accomplished, giving myself enough hope to get through the day. I’m not planning in advance anymore—now, I am taking things one day at a time.