{shortcode-dc1b4d528014e0eedb2054b3b7e16c9b17574dca}Alright, alright, alright! The fall semester is officially underway, and it sure is different from the good ol’ days. And, yeah, we have a long list of complaints about the pandemic and remote learning, but there are a few bright sides to having your academic life turned upside down. In attempt to practice gratitude (apparently it’s “good for you” and a “healthy coping mechanism”), here’s a list of #stressful things about the normal college experience that we don’t miss one bit.

Feeling Like the Weekends Aren’t a Break

Ever end a week of grinding only to feel, like, a weird amount of pressure to have fun? One upside to the virtual and geographically dispersed semester is that social scoreboarding has been effectively eliminated. It’s time to let your FOMO go, because there’s really nothing to fear missing out on. Work Hard / Play Hard is a thing of the past — in the Zoom era, it’s Work Hard / Do Whatever You Want To Do (Like Maybe Those Self-Care Things You Said You’d Do If Only You Had Time!).

Figuring Out Meals With the New Time Schedule

While the HUDS-Cookie-Bars-shaped void in your life may be huge, this semester’s mealtimes are a welcome change of pace. Gone are the days of fruitlessly coordinating G-cals just to have a 10-minute meal overlap with a blockmate, or feeling the pressure to whip out your laptop and look busy instead of eating alone. And for the chronically overbooked, sometimes bagged lunches eaten on the way from one lecture to the next just didn’t cut it. While quality time with friends in the dhall is irreplaceable, a semester of meals on your own schedule is definitely something to appreciate. Additional bonus: you never have to hear the perfunctory “Let’s catch a meal sometime!” (fingers crossed that the phrase will be permanently retired from the campus lexicon).

Battling It Out For the Best Seat in Class

Finding the optimal spot for learning in a lecture or section is a seriously underrated component of in-person learning. Trying to claim the one seat in a section where you can angle your laptop away from the TF, rushing into a massive Science Center lecture hall so that you can claim a place close enough to the professor to deter yourself from getting distracted, or snagging a spot with an optimal view of your dhall crush are just a few examples of how picking a seat in class is a task both delicate and essential to learning. Of course, even if you do manage to find the perfect spot this time, you have to do it all over again next class. One of the great pains of on-campus student life is sliding into class a little late, HUDS paper cup in hand, only to find that your niche has been taken. Luckily at Zoom University, there’s no jockeying for spots! Stay in bed, take your classes outdoors, hang out with your dog during class, etc. — the seating options are limitless, so get creative with it!

Wearing Pants

Self-explanatory, and a strong contender for the best silver lining of virtual classes. Bonus points if you can start a competition with your blockmates to see who can avoid wearing pants for the most consecutive lectures. Mandatory disclaimer on behalf of our TFs, profs, and classmates: make sure that you remember to cover up / turn your camera off / do something to avoid flashing your ass(ets) to your section before getting up to grab a snack mid-lecture!

It’s going to be a long year of missing your friends and wishing for a normal campus life, but, in the meantime, try to appreciate the reduced pressure of virtual academia. Stay in bed, take care of yourself, don’t wear pants, and stay healthy!