Going to Concordia for the first time: A second-year student’s thoughts

My thoughts as a second-year student

This year is going to be big for more than just first-year students—there’s a whole second class that will be experiencing campus life for the first time. Graphic Joey Bruce

Throughout the 2020-2021 school year, I dreamed of the fall 2021 semester. 

A lot of last year didn’t feel real. As a student who has never attended Concordia classes in person, I had a lot of trouble identifying with the school and taking it seriously. Lectures often felt like watching a long YouTube video. I’d take my early classes from bed as well as my late classes. It was so easy to ignore school, and, because of that, it didn’t feel like going to school at all. 

The lines between my personal life and my academic life were blurred; I basically did everything from my bedroom. I’d like to think that being able to go to school in person will help me reinstate those boundaries in my life. 

Learning will hopefully return to what it used to be before school went online: it won’t just be a lecture, it will be an engaging learning environment. I hope for opportunities where classmates can interact with each other, and where teachers can be more dynamic. I want to feel immersed in my school, and not just feel like class is something else on my to-do list. This would make going to university worth it, at least for me. 

All my hopes have been set on the idea that this upcoming semester, I’ll magically get back everything that the pandemic took away from me. I tell myself,  “This semester, I’ll be able to see my friends, hang out around campus, and go to the library whenever I want.”

My excitement has reached levels I didn’t think were possible. This summer, I decided that I’d donate most of my clothes and start a whole new wardrobe before school starts. I’ve gone on Staples’ website more times than I even did while working for them, and I got a manicure and a haircut the week before school started.

I want to feel immersed in my school, and not just feel like class is something else on my to-do list.

Despite all this excitement, I am also a little terrified of school starting. I have not gone to university in person, ever. I assume that things will go well, but, like most things  in life, it’ll be hit-or-miss.

I think the main thing the past 18 months have taught me is to give up. I have learned to give up when it seems like going on will only tire me out. I don’t want to waste my time and energy on things that will only bring negativity into my life. I’ve applied this to sports since the second grade, but never to other areas of my life. 

There is a freeing feeling in telling myself that if something doesn’t work out the way I imagined it, then I’ll just give it up. While online school made it harder for a lot of people to do their work, I think that blaming it for making our lives more difficult doesn’t account for everything that already made our lives tough. 

I think of people whose financial situations force them to overwork themselves or people who don’t have the right tools in their lives to work through their mental health issues, people who are oppressed, etc. All these factors will continue to exist after the pandemic, yet our school administrators have not implemented structured help for them. 

I just hope that this year, I get to experience everything that Concordia has to offer. I feel the need to make up for lost time, but I’m also trying to be aware of what will actually bring positivity. I see this semester as a second chance for me and many others to start university the right way.

This article originally appeared in The Reorientation Issue, published September 7, 2021.