The Jambar Column: A breath of fresh air

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By Hailey Rogenski

School is back in session at Youngstown State University and it seems as if summer flew by like a racehorse. I must admit I’m quite confident this semester will be a great one. 

As the fall semester begins, we will meet new teachers and students and make new friends. We will learn new career paths, become more involved in our future careers and even settle upon what we hope for our future career to be. Although these are pleasantries that we experience as we grow and learn with each semester, there is one thing that will make this semester much better than the rest the relaxation of coronavirus regulations. 

Toward the end of the last spring semester, YSU lifted its mask mandate. This semester, we will be able to enjoy the company of others without wearing masks and maintaining social distancing precautions. We’ve spent more than two years under strict coronavirus regulations and taking off the masks and being closer to our friends and classmates is long overdue. 

It can be hard to build a connection with others while wearing masks and social distancing. Although it’s good to be safe and spread out, a high-five or a hug from a friend or classmate is nice every once in a while. While distancing from people, it’s harder to communicate without being too loud, especially when wearing masks. Masks can make it harder to talk and even breathe while also muffling our voices which can make it difficult to hear each other.

As someone who suffers from asthma, wearing masks makes it extremely hard to breathe, even more so when it’s hot outside or I’m moving around. 

In my spare time, I enjoy utilizing the gym in Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center. Unfortunately, for a long period of time I couldn’t do that because I am unable to workout with a mask on since I am at risk of having an asthma attack. I can barely manage walking to class with a mask on not to mention it makes my face sweat and I feel as if I’m breathing in hot, smelly air.

Masks can be distracting inside the classroom as well. As someone who wears glasses, I can’t count how many times my mask has ridden up the bridge of my nose and gotten in my eyes. If the mask is too loose and isn’t adjustable, it tends to fall down which can also be a nuisance.

Students can have a more difficult time trying to understand what teachers are saying during lectures. When students can’t understand what teachers are saying, they miss out on important information that may appear on homework or future tests. 

Having the freedom to choose whether or not to wear masks is like a breath of fresh air. Although we had to undergo over two years of coronavirus regulations, it felt as if it had been an eternity. Welcome back Penguins, and I’m looking forward to sharing this semester with you as a new columnist.

For those interested in the current Centers for Disease Control and Preventions’ recommendations on the use and care of masks, when to wear one and the COVID-19 community level, visit the CDC website.