The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the globe in a myriad of catastrophic ways. Our definition of “normal” has been redefined numerous times since the early months of 2020. Many individuals, understandably so, are still struggling to adapt to life in a pandemic. Simple actions of affection like hugs and handshakes are a relic of the past. Our lives are closely mirroring the dystopian novels that consumed us in the past. However, we have yet to receive our happy ending. Will this pain ever end? Many hospitals in the U.S. are, yet again, at full capacity, and COVID cases are rapidly climbing with each day that passes.
Students, of course, have been impacted in a unique way. Throughout the world, students have been forced to leave the comfort—or discomfort, depending on who you ask—of their classrooms, converting their bedrooms to workspaces. Parents have been forced to become teachers, and teachers have had to acquire new skills at a rapid pace in order to transform brick-and-mortar classes into virtual formats. COVID-19 has reconstructed our academic landscapes, and many students are now nostalgic for elements of student life that they previously took for granted. For Roadrunners, the return to on-campus semester procedures has been a year and a half of “Will they or won’t they?” Over the pandemic, many UTSA students have been glued to their inboxes: anxiously awaiting updates on whether or not we can look forward to roaming the halls of UTSA yet again, or restlessly pacing the four walls of our bedrooms.
As of publication, the semester will be conducted online for the first three weeks, and then we will transition to in-person courses. Modalities will still be available for those who choose to stay online or hybrid. However, 2020 taught us all a simple yet unwavering truth: even the best-laid plans go awry. We cannot predict the events of tomorrow—let alone the state of the world a couple of weeks from now. Whether or not we return to campus, one thing is for certain: one day, we will eventually return to a new normal. This can’t go on forever. One day, we will share smiles with strangers again. One day, we will bridge the six-foot gap that separates us. One day, we will hold tight to those we love, with no fear threatening to infiltrate the connection. In the meantime, we must remain vigilant in following the CDC’s precautionary measures. We cannot remove our masks just yet. We need to practice patience and stay at home as much as humanly possible. We’re all in this together, and we can only succeed if we follow the rules set before us. We need to take advantage of platforms like Zoom and FaceTime to stay connected to our friends and family. These times are tough, but they will eventually come to an end. It is only a matter of time!