Opinion | Return to school is our chance for normalcy

Students+waits+in+line+to+take+COVID-19+tests+at+the+Illini+Union+on+Sunday.+Columnist+Noah+argues+many+students+want+to+return+to+campus.

Ryan Ash

Students waits in line to take COVID-19 tests at the Illini Union on Sunday. Columnist Noah argues many students want to return to campus.

By Noah Nelson, Senior Columnist

Five months ago, everyone around the world, especially students here at the University, had their whole lives changed with the snap of a finger. At the time, COVID-19 began spreading like wildfire in the states. Before anyone knew it, everything was gone: the likes of NCAA and NBA sports, sitting down in a restaurant and just going to any public facility like a gym or library.

On March 13, University students left campus for spring break in what many people thought was going to be a two-week quarantine. But as everyone knows, those two weeks turned into the rest of the spring semester online and five months total of isolation.

Though some prefer to stay home and take courses online, and that’s completely understandable, countless students are ready for some normalcy once again. Despite the current circumstances, it’s time to return to school.

Though it’ll be vastly different this fall, students being able to return to campus if they wish is a great decision. From speaking with so many of my close friends and other students I know, all of them want to return to campus to resume a somewhat normal life. College only lasts so long, and we all want to experience it as we’re supposed to, not crouched over a screen all day.

Students want to see their friends. Being away from their peers for so long physically and mentally has been tough for them. Even in the social media age today, FaceTime and text messaging only work to an extent. Students need to be with one another face to face and returning to campus will assist the issue in that regard.

Along with friends, students also need to return to regular activities.

As it may be quite different, with many clubs and organizations not happening, there are several options for students to return to somewhat normal activities.

While attending live sporting events is still up in the air, students can still take part in physical activities like cornhole, frisbee or running.

They can also study with groups of people, socially distanced of course, or watch a movie together. The opportunities may be limited but why not make the most out of the ones available.

Most of all, students need to return to campus for the main reason: school itself. While most students are taking classes online this fall, some will still have in-person class. Even if students don’t, being on campus again will provide them access with face-to-face opportunities with TA’s, professors and advisers. It will act as another reminder of normal life once again.

Students may have mixed feelings about online classes and whether or not they provide the same education value, but the fact that we are allowed to live on campus makes the situation worth it.

In these last five months, everyone has lived a different life, socially distanced and, hopefully, wearing a mask in public. But students especially need to be around their friends, return to their activities and just be on campus again. It’s an unprecedented situation, but if everyone makes the most of it in the meantime, there will no doubt be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Noah is a junior in the College of Media.

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