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The Realities of Being Back in School

As someone who entered NUS in 2020 (aka the peak of Covid's emergence), I had no idea what to expect for physical classes. This semester has thus been an eye-opening experience for me. While it's true that the vibrancy of school life isn't something that can be replicated online, physical classes comes with its own set of problems (that no one has ever warned you about). Here are the top 3 problems that I've faced over the past few weeks:

#1 Overly crowded buses & being late to class

Credits: @hotg_.rlsummer on TikTok

The picture above should be an all-too-familiar sight for you by now. Every single day, it feels like we have to, as the user captioned, unleash our inner "auntie" self and push our way into these shuttle buses. Alternatively, we give up trying to be packed like sardines and just walk to class in the scorching hot sun. More often than not, we end up reaching class late because we have to miss a bus (or two), and we walk in looking like we hit the gym right before class. On the bright side, I guess this provides us with a good work out session!

#2 Physical lectures

During the pandemic, lecturers frequently pointed out the lack of interaction between them and their students because all they got to see were black screens and names. For the students, online lessons meant a battle against multitasking during the sessions, or even the internal debate of whether to attend altogether. As we go back to the good old days of physical lessons, students no longer enjoy the luxury of having lecture recordings. And more importantly, we have to try our best not to fall asleep in the comfort of LT chairs and air-conditioning. It is a tough battle… But for now, why not bring along some sweets to get a sugar rush? Alternatively, check out the different coffee places available around NUS (sounds like a future article idea…?)!

#3 Unable to get food

If you're trying to get food during lunchtime with less than an hour to spare, you've probably given up by now. There's not much to say here: the queues are long regardless of the stall you've picked. If you do manage to get your food, there is also the whole other problem of trying to find a seat. Fortunately for me, FASS has an abundance of study benches, which means I can just request for takeaway and eat my lunch at a bench (while skimming through my readings before tutorial begins).

But... It's not really all that bad, is it? Getting to know how your tutorial mates look like, having actual group discussions instead of silent breakout rooms full of black screens, exploring the NUS campus, and much more! These are just some of the many benefits that going back to physical lessons brings. So as we complain about the seemingly endless downsides of this transition, let's take a moment to think back to when we first began online lessons and how troublesome it seemed back then. We will, eventually, become accustomed to physical lessons once again. Instead of only seeing the problems, why not try to be more positive and appreciate the social interactions that we are able to have once again? Personally, I'm super thankful to have large-scale physical events again so I can have fun in big groups with my friends, yay~ And since I'm on campus almost every day, I hope to see you all around!

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