As the COVID-19 pandemic seems to calm down throughout the state, CSUSM has scheduled for some classes to be in-person next semester. Because of the move, many students expect to spend some time on campus and/or live in dorms.
As someone whose first year was cut short by the outbreak, I am excited to be in person again. Even though I could only get one class on campus, I am grateful for all I can get.
Access to campus means more now than it ever has. It is no longer merely a place for education, but a place to connect with my peers and community.
Another aspect I find exciting is having my friends back in the dorms. Since many of them do not live near San Marcos, it will be nice to have them around. Completing a year of distance learning without much access to outside visitors can be quite daunting.
The opportunity of being on campus also allows me to step out of my comfort zone. I plan to branch out and attend some clubs and events whenever they are hosted. I also plan to support other groups such as the arts because they always have wonderful productions.
Furthermore, I am stoked about finally attending an in-person Festival 78, as it was cancelled in 2020 and completely virtual this year. I know that Festival 78 is a huge event for CSUSM and I hope to experience the joy before I graduate.
I feel that exploring the community with friends will become easier too because I will have my car. Due to living in the dorms my first year, I did not need it because I could rely on public transportation. Although, late last year I moved to San Marcos, allowing me to be a commuter for future semesters.
Although I have lived in the community for almost a year, the pandemic has prohibited me from going out often. Truthfully, I do not know much about the city outside of San Marcos Drive. If anything, I think having little knowledge serves as a benefit because it allows me to experience things for the first time with my friends.
I am initially pretty shy when venturing into new things, so my only year on campus was spent mostly in the dorms or with a few friends. Looking back on it now, I did not truly appreciate all that the school and community offered.
From now on, I plan to take full advantage of my experience at CSUSM. I will no longer let opportunities pass me by; I will jump on them as quickly as possible.
For the time I have left at the school, I want to live a true college experience, even if it is shortened. After all, the amount of time should not matter as long as the memories are unforgettable.
Natalie Navarro is an Assistant Opinion Editor for The Cougar Chronicle. She is a sophomore at CSUSM as a literature and writing major, as well as a theatre minor. After graduating, Natalie plans to further her education and become a teacher. She loves to read and play with her dogs.