There’s no question that COVID-19 has accelerated these past two years into semi-memorable moments in a generation-molding era. As I enter my junior year, it feels as though my arrival back to campus should be backed by, like many recent TikToks, Dr. Dog’s “Where’d All The Time Go?”
When I arrived on campus two years ago, all I could think about was how much time I had here. Four years was a little less than a quarter of my entire life at the time, and the idea of finishing a degree when I hadn’t even started classes felt foriegn to me. It felt like I had all the time in the world, and that it would be long before I hung up the lanyard around my neck and become an upperclassman. What I didn’t know then was that I wouldn’t be spending all four years here.
Since I’ve spent the majority of my first two years online, it’s hard to pinpoint accomplishments and milestones as markers of the passage of time. In what feels like an instant, I’ve completed half of my undergraduate career, and I feel the complete opposite of my first-year self. My roommates and I sit in our living room once a day and say “We’re juniors. Ew, we’re juniors.” Now that I know how quickly two years go by, how do I make these last two count?
It’s a hard question to answer. For me, college is a difficult time because we’re teetering on the fact that our lives are just about to begin, but in order for that to happen, our days of semi-reckless freedom must end. We’re told to savor them, that these will be some of the best years of our life, but they’re fleeting — flashing before our eyes as we do homework and write Campus Times articles. These four years are perfect because of that cushion we’re given, and maybe it’s for the best that it’s so short. But it’s hard to accept that when it feels as though you lost two of those four years in the first place.
I’d done a lot at the closing of my sophomore year to make sure I was staying as involved as possible. I’m incredibly busy now, too, constantly feeling guilty about getting home too late to help my roommates put away the dishes, but I’m continuing to meet new people, learn new things, and stay busy enough to feel like I’m making the most of the minutes I have left. I’m doing what I can to feel involved. Joni Mitchell said, “We’re captive in the carousel of time. We can’t return, we can only look back.” It’s hard not to wonder whether I’ll look back and regret not having done more. I’m here now, and won’t be able to redo what I missed later down the line, but I can do it now.
In the words of Billy Joel, “Only fools are satisfied.”
Ultimately, I don’t think that there’s a right or wrong way to do college. Obviously certain parts of the thousand different things that college offers appeal to others more than most. So making the most of these two years will look different to everyone. My advice is to do what will impassion you the most with no hesitation. In life, you’ll rarely regret putting yourself out there for something that you wanted to do. Worst case scenario, you can be proud of yourself for doing what you could, and not thinking about what you didn’t.