Photo Credit: Craig Whitehead via Unsplash
Emma Kirwin –
Pre-pandemic life kind of grosses me out, in more ways than one. I definitely think I’ll be a mask-wearer even after the vaccine. I have gone all year without so much as a cough, which is really saying something about how well simple handwashing and mask-wearing works. Normally, I am plagued with tonsillitis a couple times a year, at least some sort of common cold in the fall and overall, I think my immune system has been taking a beating from September until May pretty much every year. I will definitely be more attuned to sanitizing my living space, washing my hands and wearing a mask post-pandemic.
Secondly, I like remote learning. I’ve always liked to do things on my own time and at my own pace, so having that option sits well with me. Online meetings are a lot more efficient than in-person ones and are more accessible for people in different locations, on different schedules etc. I’ve been able to manage work, school and writing the LSAT (cough, cough, twice) all because I don’t waste any time going to and from campus or travelling for meetings. Additionally, any time I spend hanging out with my friends now is a fraction of what it used to be.
However, I am also in fourth year and wrapping up my degree in a virtual setting is neither here nor there to me, but I empathize with younger students who have had their first or second year taken away from them. All in all, I think we have learned a lot from COVID-19 and I am eager to see what the world will look like once it is safe to be in-person again.
Noah Nickel –
Something that basically all university students have tried at some point, including me, is going to a “club-style” bar with a group of friends.
I’ve since learned that they really aren’t for me, as I’m not a fan of being shoulder to shoulder in a hot, stuffy and frankly disgusting building, dancing to music I don’t like, paying way too much for watered-down drinks, all while being surrounded by dozens of strangers I have no interest being around.
I’m much more of a fan of “pub-style” bars, where I can just sit at a table with a couple of friends and enjoy their company and conversation.
Before the pandemic, I struggled to come up with excuses to tell my friends why I wouldn’t go with them to club-style bars, but now, I’ve been given the perfect out.
While I doubt much will change once the pandemic is over on this front, as I’m sure people will still be flooding into these gross places, it has definitely given enough people pause that I shouldn’t have to go back to one ever again, which I consider a (very small) win.
Mackenzie Gerry –
I agree with Emma as to being grossed out from things we had done pre-pandemic. I’ve always been one to have strep throat or some type of cold every year, but with everyone wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing, I haven’t been sick. Prior to COVID-19, when you were sick you would go to the doctors and read a small sign saying wear a mask if you were sick, but who really did? Nobody. While yes, you may have gotten some looks if you coughed, it was nothing like it is now. I think we should normalize masks following the pandemic to lessen the chance of catching any virus.
One thing I do appreciate now would be the government requiring we maintain physical distancing. Prior to the pandemic, if you were walking down the street of a busy city you felt like people were stepping on your toes and that you had no space to breathe.
I believe that once we’re all vaccinated everything will return to normal and everyone can go to crowded bars or a sporting event and not have one single worry about catching the virus. For now though, I’m fine with my online Zoom or Microsoft Teams calls, as I can crawl right out of bed and not have to worry about my appearance. That is one thing I will never take for granted.
Chad Ellis –
The biggest shock to me now about pre-pandemic life is how unhygienic we were in our daily lives. I know that’s been a sentiment echoed by lots of TBP’s staff, but it’s something that has consistently shocked me every time I look back on the past.
I vividly remember times when I would go around campus with no concern about any germs on surfaces like keyboards, doorknobs, rails or desks. After all that, it wouldn’t be uncommon for me to touch my face or touch my personal belongings, thereby spreading all the germs I just got exposed to. Dealing with the pandemic has turned me into somewhat of a germaphobe, which I’m now incredibly thankful for in retrospect. These days I clean everything I touch, all the time. While I may fall off with how often I do that as things start to return to normal, I know that the practice will stick with me for a very long time going forward.
Jonah Dayton –
Like Noah said, the pandemic has given introverts everywhere a permanent out — you know that John Mulaney bit when he says cancelling plans is like crack for people in their 30s? Well, I wouldn’t take it that far, but if you really aren’t feeling it one night, you always have the COVID-19 card in your back pocket. But I have a feeling there won’t be many cancellations once everyone gets vaccinated and stuff starts opening up. Can you imagine coordinating plans with your friends for the first time in 18 months and being like “ah, Thursday’s no good, how ‘bout next week?”
I’d like to think that I’d feel pretty comfortable going to indoor restaurants, sporting events and other normal gatherings once vaccinated, whenever that may be. I also rarely get sick and historically have had a very strong immune system (why yes, I am trying the reverse jinx technique).
I do feel like the biggest change between pre and post-pandemic life will be travelling. There are going to be so many would-be business trips that will now be Zooms or phone calls (as they probably should have been all along). There were a lot of inefficiencies and wasted resources given to travelling before that will no longer be as prominent. So that’s a big win for all the folks who’d normally be taking unnecessary trips to Minneapolis in January.
Holly Morrison –
I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking about what life was like pre-pandemic and whether or not there are things that I regret doing or things that I now find myself grossed out by. Honestly, I can’t think of that many. I can’t wait until the day that I can shake someone’s hand without worrying about if they have a slight cough or left the country in the past month. I’ll probably keep my cloth masks if for no other reason than I like wearing them better than scarves in the winter months.
One thing that I really do hope sticks around is the newfound global commitment to accommodations. Previously, if I missed a class for a medical reason, I was pretty much screwed for the rest of the semester unless I could get someone’s notes. Now if I need to stay in bed because I have a migraine, I can just watch the lecture recording later in the day when I’m feeling better. Remote learning has its challenges and I definitely miss being on campus, but I am hoping (not just for myself but also for students with disabilities who have been asking for these kinds of accommodations for years) that the choice still exists come the fall.