By: Grace Hebron, Staff Writer
To the Editor,
A few weeks ago, remote learning caught up to me. Late assignments started piling up until I couldn’t see over all the essays and audio lectures and lengthy discussion boards. I felt like a horrible student, but really, I was just tired, and I know many of you are too. It’s not easy being a student during a global health crisis. So I wanted to share a message with The Towerlight readers, tired students, wrapping up their semester at Towson University, some, like me for the last time ever.
Dear tired students,
Between “Tiger King” and “Love Is Blind,” you’ve watched your fair share of TV in the past month and a half, which means you may have heard these times we’re living in referred to as uncertain. Yes, these are uncertain–in fact, unprecedented times. Your life has been a whirlwind since the day you found out, half way through the semester, that you were saying goodbye to your dorm room for good. Since the day you got the email that your internship was ending early, or a call saying your workplace was closing indefinitely, the course of your semester–and life as you knew it–was changed.
It’s crazy now to look back at Tuesday, March 10 as the last day of the senior year I’d always thought I’d have. But even crazier is the thought that it was also one of the last times that everything was normal. I was sitting in the office at my internship the morning of March 10th when I heard my phone buzz with a frenzied text, then another. Within seconds, seemingly everyone I knew at once was confirming what we had all seen coming, but still couldn’t quite believe. Classes were cancelled leading up to Spring Break, and wouldn’t meet again in person until at least early April. I remember putting my phone down. And then not knowing what to think, but needing someone to share this strange and urgent news with. I knocked on my supervisor’s door.
As I stood in her doorway, we marveled at a growing list of universities that had just moved classes online due to COVID-19; Columbia, Ohio State, now Towson… But it was still early on, then. Just over 1,200 people had been diagnosed with the virus in the United States, only twelve in Maryland, and at this stage, it looked like we’d still be coming into the office. I wondered what things would look like in a month, not knowing that by next week, I’d be doing my internship remotely.
I think about the office and my little desk a lot these days. The desk is still there, still covered in the embarrassing amount of pictures I brought in and still strewn with LED tea lights–a little much–but they made my space cozy. You’re probably thinking about your own office and little desk, or the couch in the common room where you spent many late nights preparing for final exams. Maybe your favorite bean bag chair in Cook Library, or bench in the Liberal Arts Building, is pulling at your heartstrings right now. I know mine is. It’s not weird. None of us knew that any of this would be happening, let alone that we’d be saying goodbye so soon.
So, tired student, I hope you remember to give yourself a break. If you’re feeling like you haven’t done your best this semester, or like you haven’t pushed yourself enough, know you’re not alone. Myriad Zoom calls, a botched sleep schedule and a revolving door of grocery deliveries have become your new normal, and in the midst of that, maybe you’ve found that assignments come second to your mental health. Maybe some days you simply resolve to the fact that it’s hard to think of anything that isn’t COVID-19. That’s ok. None of the things that mattered two months ago make sense in the world we live in now. But you’ve done the best you can with that. And now you’re almost done. So take a deep breath.
Dear tired student,
Seven weeks ago, you said goodbye to what you knew. You sat down in your bedroom, or to a makeshift desk at your kitchen table and embarked on a semester that would be the first of its kind. It wasn’t easy, and maybe you wished there was a handbook on how to be a student during a global pandemic. But regardless of how you got here, you made it to the home stretch, and that’s something to be proud of.