September 10, 2021 | LIFE | By Olivia Hahnemann-Gilbert | Photo by Kira Schulist
After one and a half years of partial social isolation, Colorado College students are finally back to the full swing of things with classes, jobs, extracurriculars, and parties. With campus buzzing, apart from the presence of masks, it almost feels like we never left.
This is how our college experience is supposed to be, isn’t it? We’re ecstatic to be around so many other people again… aren’t we?
For many, the transition back to a full social life has been tumultuous. Students seem to be experiencing many different emotions at once.
What has it really been like for CC students to be thrust back into such a potent social scene? Has the COVID-19 pandemic shifted our outlooks on socializing? When asked about the effects of the social hiatus on her current wellbeing as she returns to school, Olivia Dossett ’23, commented on the changes she has noticed in her social self.
“I think that my social limit is much lower now – I just can’t interact with people as much as I used to before I get exhausted,” Dossett said. She seems to view this change in a positive light; she feels that this encourages her to take more time for herself than she used to.
Fiorella Murillo ’23 feels similarly about her social threshold. “Things that used to be so normal and easy for me to participate and engage in are harder for me now,” Murillo said.
Among many CC students, I relate to this sense of social overwhelm; it seems to take much more energy to have conversations, and I often end my day feeling much more drained than I did pre-pandemic.
Murillo went into further detail, explaining the impact that COVID-19 has had on her current social life. “I have been a bit more socially anxious,” she said. “But I don’t know if it’s more of an ‘I’m scared to talk to you’ kind of anxious or if it’s an ‘I don’t know where you’ve been’ kind of anxious.”
I know that Murillo is not alone in her concern about contracting the virus. Many of us may be vaccinated and back in our traditional educational settings, but the pandemic is far from over. Even with the protection of the vaccine, health-related anxiety is ever present.
While some students are feeling slightly less socially inclined, others find themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum. Amelia Allen ’23 comments on her experience.
“I was way too excited there for a second. When I first came back, I was so excited that I partied way too much,” Allen said. “I feel like I don’t know how to have a moderate life because I keep spreading myself extremely socially thin.”
This also seems to be a common experience as students readjust to life on campus. Parties and gatherings are finally at our disposal once again and for many students, it almost resembles the same feeling and social uneasiness of entering college for the first time. It’s like the movie “50 First Dates,” but the date is with college and the memory issue is a global pandemic.
Furthermore, the classes at CC have had yielded very different student experiences. For upperclassmen, college social life is at least somewhat familiar; most of us were at least six months into college when the pandemic first reared its ugly head. Meanwhile, first-years and sophomores have not had the luxury of being priorly acquainted with the social intricacies of CC. This must make for a drastically different experience for the students in these grades.
Keeping in mind the difficulty of the circumstances, many students seem happy to be acquainted with other people. When I asked my roommates if they felt generally more anxious or grateful to be back, they responded in unison with a resounding “grateful.”
Throughout this period of change, it is important to keep in mind that many of us are struggling to recreate a “normal” social life for ourselves. I believe that if we were able to adjust to social withdrawal, we can readjust to the social intensity; in the meantime, there are always others who can relate.