I graduated high school in what felt like peak COVID-19 in May of 2020. Before graduation, I spent two months taking online classes.
Despite not being able to experience senior year to its fullest, it wasn’t so bad. Neither my teachers, friends or I knew how to make an online class work. I don’t think I had any major assignments, not even end of semester tests because teachers had so much going on. I think the school just said, “give them their diplomas. We don’t know what else to do with them.”
My first year at USD had similar plans. Professors were forced to change classes to fit into hybrid or online courses.
They attempted to make classes and assignments easier for students to complete. This was kind of them, but it gave me a lot of time to procrastinate. I put off assignments until the last minute and as long as I was passing, it was fine with me.
Whether I am just realizing the change because of midterms or because I have spent long enough in a “regular” class, I definitely see how things are returning to how they once were.
But we shouldn’t go back to “normal.” Normal wasn’t good enough then and it certainly isn’t now. Of course, everyone wants the pandemic to come to an end, but switching to hybrid and online classes and switching back to in-person classes is going to put a strain on people.
The COVID-19 pandemic opened a can of worms. Before, problems like mental health, work culture and career pressures were swept under the rug. Now people are feeling the toll of ignoring these issues. I’m not sure I want to return to pre-pandemic life.
There is a general consensus that during the pandemic, mental health and self-care were important to maintaining a healthy life. The pandemic was a seismic event that allowed these ideas to become more socially permissible. People shouldn’t have needed a global pandemic to show that not everyone is “okay” all of the time.
Mental health isn’t the only thing people have new mentalities about. The pandemic has proven it is possible to work remotely for many different jobs. The idea of working in an office nine to five has become boring to most people. They don’t want to sit at a desk mindlessly typing away. Work culture has changed and not a lot of people seem willing to return to their desk jobs.
The pandemic ripped through our lives and changed many things, some of which we probably haven’t realized yet. Now is the time to fix what we want. As students, we have the ability to take online asynchronous classes or be in-person to fit our learning needs. We have the ability to pick the jobs we want in the future, we have the ability to make ourselves happy.