illustration by Gracen Hoyle
It’s been months, and I still feel lonely. I still feel cheated out of what everyone told me would be the best years of my life. I still feel confused, tired and frustrated.
I’ve felt this way since the day I got back to St. Louis with all the belongings I went to Trinity with, all packed the same way but with significantly less hope. I’m lucky to have a home to return to where I can exist comfortably as a queer child and sibling. My family has respected the boundaries I’ve set to make it feel like I’m still somewhat independent. But still, like everything the past few months, this just sucks.
Right now, so much attention is on first-years at Trinity, and rightfully so. College is already a difficult adjustment to make coming out of high school. Add on a pandemic that takes away normal social interaction and fun aspects of going to college, and it’s even more difficult. I’m a sophomore, and I’ve been repeatedly told that this is the best year to be remote. The thing is, sophomores didn’t get a normal first year either. The way the class of 2024 might feel lonely right now is how we felt when we got sent home after we had just begun making valuable connections. There are friends that I was on the cusp of getting closer to that I lost when I had to go back home. As soon as we got our feet under us during the second semester, the prime window for starting fresh at college was abruptly shut.
So I sit at my desk each day taking in comments about how good of a position sophomores are in while wondering if it’s ever not hard to be 900 miles away from my friends and a campus I was just beginning to know.
Getting emails about major declarations did nothing to ease my stress about missing campus. While talking to friends about their plans, I realized how many of us feel like we’re floundering. This year, the year that we’re supposed to decide what exactly we want
to do, isn’t providing us the same opportunities to figure it all out. I can hardly think about a decision as small as which essay prompt to choose when I’m able to shut my laptop and pretend school doesn’t exist. Being able to simply turn college off and go back to sleep in my childhood bedroom is not the kind of environment I wanted to take classes in, nonetheless declare a major.
I won’t pretend that sophomores have it the hardest. I can only imagine the grief of seniors realizing their last year of college is nothing short of abnormal and uncomfortable. Juniors don’t have the same chance to learn how to be better students and better leaders as they near their own last year, and, of course, first-years are getting such a lacking impression of what college is actually like. While we can debate who is suffering the most, we can all agree that it isn’t easy for anyone.
Being at home has brought its blessings. I never thought I would spend so much time with my best friends from high school since we graduated, and I certainly didn’t think I’d be with my family for this long, but now, most of my friends have left, my siblings have also resumed school, and I again feel trapped. I spent so much time my senior year of high school dreaming about leaving St. Louis. Now, I’m back in the same room where those dreams began, dreaming them all over again.
Whether you’re a friend, family member or a professor of a student who is far from campus right now, all I ask is that you keep us in mind. The student that you think has it easier than others still feels tired. Confused. Lonely. And they just need to know it’s okay to feel this way.