By: Ladonah Jefferson | email@example.com
Attending university has been highlighted throughout generations as a rite of passage—that inaugural moment when you decide to step into the world unknown.
Whether you’re filled to brim with excitement or shaken to the bone with nervousness, you made it here nonetheless. Although the year 2020 has proven itself to be a challenge, Radford University has decided to rise to the occasion.
When it comes to the college experience, no one could’ve predicted the drastic shift our institution has been forced to make: stickers stuck to the floor telling us where to stand, health safety posters plastered where event announcements and flyers used to be, face masks becoming more of a fashion statement than sweatpants, and symptom trackers and sanitizing stations aim to keep us safe. It’d be easy to assume that the ‘College Life’ experience has been taken away.
So what does this mean for our social lives?
[epq-quote align=”align-left”]Despite the world’s current state, it feels like we might finally have some space to take our time to enjoy our studies, enjoy this time to ourselves, and our time together.[/epq-quote]To no surprise, there still plenty of life on campus. Reduced to a slower, steadier pace of socializing, we’ve worked our way into our own, smaller communities.
Cliques of skateboarders have turned up taking turns conquering slopes and towering downhills — masked up — contributing to an ever-growing presence of boarders of all levels, putting the campus walkways to use.
The habit of hammocking has also become a popular activity on campus. Occupying most of the low tree branches, students have migrated there for relaxation, a quiet place to read, or to enjoy the scenery.
I have also witnessed some indulging in group hammocking, stringing up beside their friends, or accompanying new friends in a tree beside theirs.
When I encounter these groups of people, I see smiles sprouting under masks by the peak of their cheekbones, sometimes complemented with light eyes or muffled laughter; I make eye contact with them, and that seems to mean more now than it ever could’ve before.
I revel in the ambition of the people who chose to take up their personal space outside rather than in.
I have chosen to take up routines that make the average every day seem more distinct and purposeful. I’ve learned to take my time in the middle moments of life.
[epq-quote align=”align-right”]I have chosen to take up routines that make the average every day seem more distinct and purposeful. I’ve learned to take my time in the middle moments of life.[/epq-quote]These middle moments remind us that there’s more to life than the things we say we have to do or the places we tell ourselves we have to be. I take a second to pull down my mask discreetly and indulge in the cool mountain air or linger a second longer to bask in campus life’s conventional joy. These moments of appreciation have become a crucial part of my day.
Despite the world’s current state, it feels like we might finally have some space to take our time to enjoy our studies, enjoy this time to ourselves, and our time together.
So, the next time you find yourself outside with the mountain breeze filling your lungs against the filter of your mask, know that we’re all in this together.