The more “normal” year that we have all been waiting for is finally here, thanks to the over eighty percent of students who are fully vaccinated. I could not be more excited. My main goal for my second year of college is to simply enjoy it.
Last year was incredibly draining. It introduced us to a kind of isolation that remains hard to put into words. But the one thing I did gain from the pandemic is a greater appreciation for the year we have ahead of us.
I want to make the most of my sophomore year at the College of William and Mary. I don’t mean that in terms of accomplishments like good grades, club leadership positions or fancy internships. I am referring to spending quality time with the Tribe community because that is equally meaningful to me.
Almost everyone at the College will tell you that the best part about it is the people. I am very grateful to have met amazing friends my first year, but the circumstances were far from ideal. Even though I was on campus, it was challenging to meet people. I had one in-person class, all my clubs were remote and we could not visit other dorms. I spent way too much time in my room as a result.
This year, I will be looking forward to all in-person classes, getting involved in more clubs, attending sporting events, and everything in between. In many ways, my sophomore year is another freshman year, considering all the experiences that will be as new to me as the incoming freshmen.
While the people are the best aspect of the College, the stress culture is the worst. The students here are typically high achieving, but those high expectations can get out of hand. After a year of online school, we must resist falling into patterns of high stress surrounding academics. That is not to diminish the importance of trying your best, but rather to say that we should not let something as insignificant as one low grade ruin our in-person college experience. We have waited a long time for this. It would be a shame to let stress culture get in the way.
Instead of stressing about the little things, let’s make the most of this thrilling year. At this time last year, I would have given almost anything to be where we are right now. I imagine many others can relate. Let’s not forget that, or take this moment for granted. It’s time to enjoy college life before it flies by, as the good times often do.
Caitlin Noe ‘24 is a Government and Psychology double major. She is also a member of Amnesty International and Film Society. She will participate in the DC Summer Institute American Politics program this summer. Email Caitlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.