13 Things College Students Must Be Grateful Amidst Pandemic

Memorial Day passed by without your paying your solemn respect to the greatest generation. You were more interested in socializing, which you couldn't live without (or so you thought). Perhaps there must be a change in how to commemorate Memorial Day next year. Doctors, nurses, and the rest of the hospital staff must be remembered during this time of the year. You don't think it would be an exaggeration. And this is one thing to be grateful for.

The lockdown made you looked at summer in a different way. You can't wait to feel the heat, and there could be a romance in it. Your course mates didn't seem to agree with it. (One loved the long walks during a wintry morning, the other didn't outgrow his building of a snowman, and the other gets a thrill from throwing snowballs at you and your other friends.) You weren't the strange one, as there would be easing of restrictions very soon. However, you wonder about passing unmasked runners, taking the T or seeing your old buddies. There's a risk, but it would be better than following your favorite (literary) characters one more time. (You consider the Tin Woodman as your childhood friend.) The changes that you witnessed these past weeks could be a portent of things to come before the new term. It's uncertain that universities would get back to the old normal, which made you wish that you could socialize more. There's no doubt that it's more stimulating than online learning, but it's not bad as other students would think.

More Than Just the Basics: Issues You Don't Have to Deal With

You don't have to ride a school bus. If you board a bus, you must keep your distance of six feet from the nearest student. Social distancing would test everyone's patience, and it's not the virtue of most students (including you).

You don't have to worry about older teachers. You read anything there is to know about the coronavirus. Older people are susceptible to Covid-19, more men are likely to be infected, and you don't have a clue if your college would have its own testing facility. You're feeling the discomfort of staying in your room for long periods, but it's not another form of house arrest (as you think).

You don't have to wonder how lunch would be served. A potential nightmare for the parents of younger students. You would appreciate chips and pizza. If you want your pizza to be delivered to your home, don't forget to show your gratitude. A tip might not be enough.

College wait list used to be where a college aspirant's dream died. The pandemic would give these hopefuls a second, even third, chance. You wished you were an incoming freshmen until you recalled the trouble that you went through. The pandemic could make it complicated.

Sports will return with something missing. No sports fans this season, but you're not an avid sports fan. You've outgrown baseball and you never watch the Super Bowl (on TV). The lockdown forced you to read your favorite novels, where you realized that a great story would change all the time with the readers it would find. You might write about the pandemic someday, where you would try to make sense of America's disorganized state. 

Competitive birding nearly broke someone you knew. You blamed it on isolation and loneliness, but that was you (doing the quarantine talking). You're not interested in it. However, you will watch the July 4 celebrations on TV. What a bummer.

One out of five students may be virtual dropouts. You must be grateful to your parents. It should make you prepare for the fall.

You won't fulfill your childhood dream of being a chef. You tried to toast a Pop-tart, but you burned it. It's OK. You can watch "Master Chef".

Lines for the elevator, one-way corridors. Many companies are preparing to return to dramatically changed workplaces, which may resemble an early episode of "The Twilight Zone". You read too many sci-fi novels, so the changes didn't unsettle you.

There are unlikely to be vaccines and treatments this fall. It's a bridge too far from where you're standing (right now). Make a list of your summer plans. You might not have finished the novel that you started reading two months ago. 

You're having withdrawal symptoms (or so you think). You missed French fries. Doctors and scientists made a shocking discovery: Those who were losing the Covid-19 battle were overweight. Blame it on fast food meals. You don't fancy broccoli, but the pandemic is an eye-opener.

The thrill of city living is gone. You have taken museums, cultural events, and historical landmarks for granted. If you miss the intellectual fermenting, which happens during study groups and lectures, then organize a Zoom meeting with your course mates. The online discussion must not revolve around the coursework. For instance, you want to read "Dune". You found a copy last Christmas, and the lockdown gave you the time (to read it). You were crestfallen after reading the first chapter. You didn't think that Frank Herbert was overrated, but the first chapter (of "Dune") reminded you of the first chapter of the Star Wars saga. You're eager to rant about the prequel, but better save it for another time. You lost count of the number of novels your read, so storytelling must be the topic of the online discussion. Story or characters?

Hyper-crowded commutes. You won't see it soon. New Year's wish come true?

Students Beware: Online Learning is a Double-Edged Sword

You have envisioned what your summer would be like. You won't visit your grandparents. Ice cream shops are only doing take out. Sitting and sunbathing are prohibited on beaches. You're not too upset about these changes, as you found out that shifting classes online might pose some problems. You also learned about structural issues with Internet privacy and security. And your college has little control over online platforms. You can ask your tutor and professor(s), as it's better to iron out the kinks before fall. All of these can wait, as you're delighted about the return of family dinner. It's one more thing to be grateful for.

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