Our First Day of Sophomore Year… Didn’t know we were in for such a wild ride! Photo from Anna-Catherine Keung
By Anna-Catherine Kueng
Where do I begin with my perspective as a student, specifically, a Lynchburg Hornet, in the midst of a pandemic?
First, I want to acknowledge that I could never say what virus I am referring to in this article, and you would still know. Turn on the news, get on Facebook, look at the toilet paper aisle at the grocery store, or basically talk to another human being, and you will hear about the Coronavirus. It has sparked conversation around the world, put masses into panic, and most impacting for me, it has moved my college classes online.
Recently, I saw a meme on Facebook announcing a girl was starting college at “Da Crib University.” I chuckled, yet at the same time, it is alarming to think about how seriously the virus is affecting everyone and that it has closed UL’s campus.
Globally, the world is scary. It would be foolish to deny that fact. There are terrorists, the coronavirus is spreading, children die from the flu, sober people get killed by drunk drivers, and the list continues. Individually, the world can also be scary. Maybe you received a medical diagnosis you did not want, maybe your home life is falling apart, or maybe you just do not know how you are going to make it one more day in this chaotic world.
It is natural to recognize that the world is not what you grow up dreaming it is. When I was a child, I knew there were bad things, but I did not know the extent of what was happening around me. Gradually, as I got older, I began to learn more about the awful things not only in Virginia and the U.S., but around the world. Last August, I was really shaken when a grandmother, mother, and baby were all murdered by their family member right near my rural hometown. The tragedy was overwhelming to think about at times. I did not even know the family, and yet sometimes I cry when I think about the grief the surviving husbands must feel every day.
When I was a child, most of my time was consumed with my mother reading to me or writing stories on my typewriter. Sometimes, they were not even my stories. I would copy my favorite books simply because I liked the way it felt to type.
In elementary school, I started writing journals, which led to writing poetry because I did not have the patience to write long journals. It was easier to just write short stanzas. However, as a child, I never thought about majoring in English. I did not even think about college very much. I just knew I would go one day.
As a child, I used to play the Obstacle Course game on Wii Fit almost every single day. It was exhilarating but also terrifying. My avatar, as the title suggests, would have a destination but she could not get there without going through obstacles like wrecking balls, ice patches, and bridges.
When I first started out, the bridges always got me. I would bend my legs on my Wii Balance Board, trying to make my avatar jump to the next one, but she could never make it. She always fell to the ground (did I mention the courses were in the sky?), but luckily I could start over every time I did not make it.
During each semester, it is inevitable that I end up writing an article about change; but, how could I not? So many things are different from year to year, especially as a college student.
For example, last year at this time, I was in Spanish 102, and now I have completed my foreign language requirement. At the end of this semester, I will be halfway done with college. Next week, I turn twenty years old. It feels like just yesterday I was an 18-year-old at Cracker Barrel dreaming about everything I have now, not knowing what college would be like.
With the start of second semester, and being in four English classes (for my major), I am already feeling overwhelmed. Also, with summer at the end of this semester, it is harder to find motivation to make it through the cold beginning weeks of the semester.
However, I am trying to stay encouraged even in the midst of heavy reading and writing assignments. Here are my recommendations of how to have a successful next few months of school.
Every year in the fall, I get sick. It varies from sinus infections to respiratory infections, or even just a bad cold. However, this year, I made it through first semester without coming down with any sickness. I was so excited and thought winter would be smooth sailing.
For the majority of my winter break, everything was going well. I got to catch up with loved ones, I rung in 2020 at Myrtle Beach, and I was jogging in my neighborhood every few days. Then, on a normal Wednesday afternoon, a week before it was time to head back to UL, I started to not feel good.
In a few days, granted I survive all my exams, I will have completed my third semester of college. Sometimes, it still feels surreal that I am not a nervous freshman moving into Montgomery Hall for the first time and wondering what college has in store.
For many students, the end of the semester is just that: the end of the semester. It is just another amount of months that have passed, and Christmas Break is right around the corner. Of course I am thrilled to be going home for Christmas Break, and I cannot wait to spend time with loved ones, but the end of the semester is bittersweet for me.
Sadhu Vaswani is attributed with saying, “Love is selfless. It is prepared to sacrifice.” With the way the Internet can be, I am not sure if he truly said that, but I do believe these words are true. In Hallmark movies and the like, love is portrayed as a beautiful, easy thing. Love is beautiful, but I have never known it to be easy. Truly loving someone changes you completely.
Even though I am more than halfway through the semester, I have been living in a summer/early fall state of mind. By this, I mean I still wear shorts to dinner (if I go to the gym afterwards) and I do not feel like carrying a coat to my classes.
Last weekend, I went home and contemplated bringing my Carhartt coat back to school with me, but I figured I would be fine until after Thanksgiving Break. I was wrong. I also learned it is important to check the weather when deciding what items to bring back to school.
The older I get, the more things seem to change in life. Whether it is in my own life or my friends’ lives, I swear nothing stays the same once you hit around 16-years-old. Once you get behind the wheel of a car, the world feels new and exciting again.
Change comes with beautiful things. When you get in a new relationship, there are butterflies and excitement. On the other hand, when a relationship ends, everything can feel pretty dismal. Since beginning college, I have undergone a lot of changes whether it be weight loss or switching my major from nursing to English.
Sometimes, I look back and realize how I have matured. When I think about my life last year at this time, a lot has changed. For me, most of my personal growth comes during the school year because that is when life is harder, and growth happens the most in difficult times. With fall semester nearing its end, I thought I would share some things I have learned since starting school in August.
For many people, fall is a favorite season. The leaves are changing, the temperature is cooling down, and the smell of cinnamon is in the air. Although I love fall, I am not one of the people who claim it as my favorite season. I much prefer winter, which is partially because I was born in February, but that is a story for another day.
Anyway, I still like fall very much. It is a nice transition before winter, and it means the semester is almost halfway over (hallelujah). As with every season, I have some lovely memories I think back on during this time of year. I thought I would share a few, and maybe you have similar ones.
During the school year, I listen to music constantly. I listen to it while I get ready in the mornings, while I walk to class, while I brush my teeth, and while I do my homework. It is one of the biggest stress relievers in my life and it always improves my mood. Since we are halfway through the semester, now is the time when paper and presentation deadlines are arriving. These are my top songs that get me through stressful times, such as now. I hope you will give a few of them a listen!