Was college worth it this year?

COVID-19 has made college hard on everyone these last few semesters — so difficult we students are now left to wonder, “Was it really worth it?” We had to teach ourselves all semester, get yelled at by professors for not turning our camera on and wake up at 3 a.m. in a cold sweat because we realized we forgot to turn in a Blackboard assignment we were never reminded of.

Connecting with one another has also been difficult. Students express feelings of loneliness during isolation and participating in on-campus organizations isn’t the same as it has been in years prior. Students who have been in quarantine know this feeling better than others. FaceTime and Zoom calls aren’t enough to fulfill the need for human connection we all inherently have. 

Many students work one or two jobs outside of college to afford rent and tuition. Being a full-time student and full-time employee can cause students to feel increased levels of stress and anxiety. A lot of students are struggling and feeling burned-out after the spring semester. Although we are continuously living through a pandemic, some professors make in-person attendance mandatory and take away points if we aren’t in class, increasing exposure anxiety. 

At the same time, so many of our professors and faculty have been incredibly understanding throughout the pandemic — let’s face it, so many of them are feeling as burned out as we are. So many of our grades have been saved by lenient professors who chucked hard deadlines, late penalties and grading policies out of the window in an incredibly difficult time.

Negatives aside, we also were able to stay home and spend more time with our loved ones and pets. We saved money on gas, picked up a cookbook for the first time in our lives, got to live in sweatpants for months and attended meetings in pajama bottoms. We also got to witness nature taking the earth back, such as when monkeys took to the streets of Thailand. 

While there were positives and negatives to this semester, one thing is sure: it has been the most stressful semester many of us have had yet. Was it worth it? That we have no answer for, but at least we only have two more weeks to go.