Let’s be honest, the past year has been a nightmare, especially for full-time students. Classes came back in full swing as if the pandemic wasn’t still happening. Students were and are expected to get work in on time and keep up their grades all while experiencing historical events one after another. There’s been the continuing COVID-19 Pandemic, the West Coast wildfires, the Black Lives Matter movement and protests. Many students have been forced to evacuate and some lost their homes due to wildfires; they’ve lost family members from the pandemic or from other circumstances; they’ve been fighting for their basic human rights. And now there’s the 2020 Presidential Election which has created anxiety for so many people, including myself. 

We haven’t gotten a real break since last spring. Summer didn’t feel like a break; it was more like a giant depression nap, at least for me. With no school, no work, and not being able to go outside of the house, it felt like hell. 

Last semester, I took 17 credits and I can’t believe I made it through that. I’ve missed out on almost a full year of in-person college experiences as a stay-at-home student. Hybrid classes are frustrating because of the lack of attention towards at-home students who connect via zoom and because of the fact that students in-person have the upper hand since they’re physically there. Not to mention, Pacific said that online students would be getting special advisors to keep us on track and to wait for emails during the summer, but I didn’t get any emails about it until late last week (the last week of October).

While I appreciate optimism from professors and faculty, I also feel frustrated when people say that we’ll all be back next semester because, as someone with a rare medical disease, I can’t risk getting COVID-19. 

Time has been slipping away from reality and my life is going by faster and slower than it ever has. Weekends simply provide a brief one day refresh, with the other day being dedicated to upcoming assignments, projects, discussion posts, or just doing chores I’ve been putting off because of school. As much as I’m happy to have something to do, it feels as though we’re back in full force, rather than keeping up the same mentality of last semester, where everything was a lot more relaxed. To me, and some of my friends, the workload has increased dramatically and left me a flustered mess more than enough times. 

The fact that students don’t get a single break before finals, even if we do get out early, is ridiculous. We’re expected to keep up momentum when, in reality, we’re all experiencing immense burnout and so many students are struggling with mental health issues. Our morale is low and the one break we do get is on Veteran’s Day on the 11th, in the middle of the week. One day is not enough time to recuperate from all the stress and trauma students have experienced. — Grace Alexandria

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Grace Alexandria is a sophomore at Pacific University majoring in Creative Writing and Graphic Design. She’s originally from Hillsboro, OR but currently lives in Stayton, OR. She also works for Marketing & Communications and the Berglund Center at Pacific.

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