Returning students long for bygone quirks of campus life


“Every wound can be forgotten in the right light,” or at least it can according to musician Patrick Stump in his funky hit, “Spotlight (Oh Nostalgia).” But by “right light,” I mean in the wake of COVID-19, and by “wound,” I mean every situation where we students have been annoyed by college life.

As I’m sitting in my bed, at home in New Jersey, I cannot help but think about everything I’m missing while being at home.

I miss my friends, as well as socialization without rules or worries. I miss the ease of living on a campus with everything right at my fingertips. However, neither of those things came without a cost. Many of those costs created opinions articles that you can find in the archives of this very newspaper and online.

Even when we — hopefully — return to campus very soon, everything will be different, cautious and restricted.

Even when we — hopefully — return to campus very soon, everything will be different, cautious and restricted.

So, I miss the crazy bikers. I miss walking around campus listening to my music on shuffle, curious as to what could come up next. In this situation, I get a phone call. It’s my roommate. We just saw each other an hour ago, but we can’t get enough of each other. We’re talking about cringy things we accidentally said during class, when suddenly, someone on a bike whizzes right by me. Maybe my hair blows slightly in the wind. The feeling is a little terrifying, especially considering that I was just about to make a turn, and I could have been hit. It’s dangerous, and bikers should be more aware of the students through which they weave, but there’s a kind of joy in knowing that you have to be aware of these occurrences. When I walk around my neighborhood at home, it’s the same every single day. I don’t have to look behind me, worrying that someone could knock me off my feet if I’m not careful. The best part of the hustle and bustle of campus is the fact that there is hustle and bustle. The campus is alive, and it feels great to be a part of that.

It’s one of the things that I miss most after being home for several months.

I also miss the occasional fire alarm that goes off at one in the morning because someone was making popcorn.

Are they annoying? Of course. But it’s also a time when everyone comes together in joint annoyance at the guilty student. Whenever this happens, I tell the story for days. I’ll say something like, “it was only thirty degrees and we were out there for at least ten minutes.” I’m just about to go to bed when it happens.

Maybe I’m in the middle of brushing my teeth. When I walk outside, I see my friend, soaking wet, clearly right out of a shower.

We laugh together through the pain of such a situation. It’s an opportunity to take ourselves less seriously. How can you, adorned with messy hair, pajamas and slippers?

Another classic complaint is the food. Whether it’s what the dining halls are serving one night, or just the consistent culinary disappointment once mid-semester hits, everyone gets sick of the food. But that food was the same food that we all ate with our freshman halls throughout orientation, the same food that you eat with your best friends every night, and the same food that’s always there to eat whenever you need it. Don’t get me wrong — many of the meals that Sodexo serves could be greatly improved. But I would be lying if I said that I didn’t miss the experience of trekking to the Caf and spending an hour relaxing with my friends as opposed to reading textbooks for class. In this case, maybe it’s December. I put on all my layers — scarf, hat, coat, fuzzy socks and boots — just to get to the dining hall to take a lot of it off.

On the way, we see some wild sights, such as a girl wielding a lightsaber and performing tricks, or maybe just a particularly loud squirrel. The walk is long and cold, and the food doesn’t really make up for it. But the company does. As much as I love eating food that my family or I make, what is a meal without a little fun? And, for the record, I’d eat Sadler Center’s gross pizza right now if it meant having a group meal again.

Complaining is so easy, and usually, we have valid points about which to complain. I’m not suggesting that we stop doing that, or that we should be grateful for these annoyances that come along with college life. By all means — do so to your heart’s content.

But, as I’m sitting at home, thinking about whether or not we’ll make it to campus next week, these are the quirks about the school to which I hold on and certainly hope will be able to happen once again. Hopefully when on campus classes resume in Williamsburg, I’ll find myself enjoying them again.

Email Alyssa Slovin at
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Opinions Editor Alyssa Slovin ’22 is double majoring in marketing and English at the College of William and Mary, and she plans on working in book publishing or marketing after graduation. When she’s not spending time writing, editing and designing for the newspaper and Flat Hat Magazine — where she serves as an Editor-in-Chief — Alyssa thrives off talking to her friends, reading, watching YouTube, organizing and cooking. Keep up with her Opinions articles to read about all types of issues that concern campus, with articles spanning the importance of a woman’s right to choose and the dangers of campus brick thieves.


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