Here’s something I never thought I’d say: “I miss BCIT.”
I miss waking up at 6:30 for an hour and a half commute. I miss standing in line to pay for my morning coffee and donut (a routine that caused me to gain ten pounds), I miss cramming last minute in the library.
Most of all, I miss the people.
Even though the bulk of my interaction with a lot of my classmates was sitting in a lecture hall or a classroom totally silent and listening to our instructors give us a lecture over PowerPoint, I miss that sense of community. The feeling that we are all here, experiencing this thing together. Even if the “thing” was incredibly dull.
When I spoke to my classmates (well, it was a Facebook post), I found that most, if not all, of them, felt the same in one way or another:
“I miss singing with my classmates.”
“I miss going to the pub after class.”
“I miss when my friend would surprise me with coffee.”
It’s the little things that help us stay sane. With everything online, it’s a lot harder to meet with friends to blow off steam. Even just grabbing a coffee with a classmate and chatting about something unrelated to BCIT always seemed to help keep me grounded. Facebook and social media used to make a tiny percentage of my interactions with other people, but now it’s nearly 100%. I have a few classmates I’ve made small talk with over Facebook and who I am sure I’d get along with well, but it’s bizarre to think I may go the entire semester without ever actually seeing these people face to face.
Online learning means the line between home time and class time has become blurred. For many people leaving the BCIT campus meant that your day was done. You could go home, recharge, and unwind a bit before getting back to “the grind.” Sure, you’d do homework and study, but for the most part, being at home could feel like a break from academic life. With school being online, things feel a little different. My kitchen was once a spot reserved mainly for eating, cooking, sharing meals with friends and family. Now my table has become overrun with notebooks, pens, and all sorts of wires and chargers to keep my laptop running. My room was once solely used for rest, reading, and listening to music. It now doubles as a quiet place to listen to lectures, record presentations, and send school emails. The only place in my house BCIT hasn’t touched? My bathroom. Some things are too sacred.
This has made me realize how important it is to look after my mental wellbeing. It’s hard to feel “normal” in this so-called “new normal,” but like I said before, “It’s the little things.” Take an hour of your day to go for a walk, read a book, watch a show you like, or call a friend and chat about something other than school.
Trust that we can get through this. I’ll see you on campus when we do.