This past March when we were sent home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I originally thought I would be home for only two weeks, an extended Spring Break. Although it was quickly evident that myself and all of my friends would be staying home for the remainder of the Spring semester, I had complete faith that we would all return to campus in the Fall, and that everything would return to normal.
As the months passed, my faith that I would return to a full campus and in-person classes diminished. The university notified students of hybrid classes, and then recently switched to beginning the Fall semester instruction completely remotely. This caused many of my friends, peers and co-workers to decide to remain at home for the Fall semester, either to save money or to lower their risk of contracting the virus or both. Although I too was faced with the difficult decision of whether to continue my plans to move back to Berkeley this August, I decided that it will be best for me to move back, even if it won’t be in the way that I expected.
Before the pandemic, and even a few months in, I expected to move in to my sorority house this Fall with 48 other women, living in a triple with my two best friends. Now, my sorority house will have half the amount of women living in it, and it is likely that many of the rooms will be of single occupancy. My two best friends are still moving in to the house with me, but it is doubtful that we will get to live together as planned.
I expected all of my friends to return to school with me, but now a majority of my friends and even my boyfriend will be staying at home as I move back to the Bay Area. And I won’t get to spend much time with my friends that are moving back to Berkeley, because I do take the pandemic very seriously and don’t plan to spend a lot of time with people outside of my sorority house.
Even though it will not be as I envisioned, I am still excited to be back in the Bay. I miss Berkeley not only for the classes and social experience, but also for the freedom and location. I love being able to see the Golden Gate Bridge from my sorority house deck. I love being able to go on gorgeous walks and hikes through the Berkeley nature. I love feeling like I have the freedom to plan out my own day, and to leave the house without asking my parents or having to borrow their car. I love being able to study anywhere other than my childhood bedroom.
College is only 4 years, and I know that’s going to go by faster than I realize. I want to soak up and enjoy every minute of it, even if it’s not the same experience that I had my freshman year. Moving back to a quiet campus will be bittersweet, but I think it’s worth it.