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Top 10 post-pandemic things to look forward to this fall

After two and a half semesters online, students will never take the little things for granted again

<p>When the pandemic finally ends, I can't wait to delete Zoom on all platforms and resume classes offline.</p>

When the pandemic finally ends, I can't wait to delete Zoom on all platforms and resume classes offline.

 1. Football, football, football

As a former fake fan who used to leave football games after the third quarter if it looked like an easy win, I will never, ever take a moment of U.Va. football for granted again. I can admit that I used to go mainly for the Bojangles truck, but after watching the entire season from the couch, I found myself missing everything about the true football experience — even jumping up and down to that song that goes “oh-woah-oh-oh” for the 16th time despite my aching feet begging for mercy. 

2. The crowded Chick-fil-A line at the Pav

The few times I wandered down to the Pav this semester, I was deeply disappointed to find that the lines were somewhat reasonable. It only feels like the Pav experience if the Chick-fil-A line literally extends into the hallway and makes you question your valuation of your own time. There is a direct correlation between how long you wait for your sandwich and how it tastes — on my honor.

3. Actually seeing the lecture halls our tuition pays for

Yeah, I know, part of me likes taking class from bed too. But the logical part of me recognizes that we are paying tuition dollars for supposedly state-of-the-art lecture halls that I have not stepped foot in since March 2020. So, out of spite, I am excited to sit in a squeaky chair with a desk that is way too small to even take notes on, despite that being their entire purpose.

4. Trick-or-Treating on the Lawn

Taking part in this event was the most precious thing I have ever done in my life. Find a CIO and join it purely for the purpose of having an excuse to get behind a table and immerse yourself in the adorableness. You get to hand out candy to a bunch of five-year-olds in surprisingly elaborate costumes and eat all of the leftover candy your table has when you inevitably overspend — on the CIO’s credit card, of course!

5. Studying in a library and regaining any semblance of productivity

I remember grabbing a coffee and a muffin from Starbucks and heading to the library for a few hours, getting my work done in a calm environment and then heading home at 6 or 7 p.m. to enjoy the rest of my evening. While I could still technically go to Clemons Library, I live off-Grounds, and the idea of driving to Grounds and paying for parking just to go study doesn’t sit right with me. So now I write my essays from my desk, which is the nickname I’ve given my bed. Once we’re back to in-person classes, I actually look forward to getting back into the stacks. 

6. Deleting Zoom 

This is mostly wishful thinking, as I imagine we’ll always have Zoom in some capacity — whether it be for group projects, office hours or CIO meetings. But spiritually, I would like to delete Zoom, smash my computer in half and throw it into the river. The program itself actually works very well, but it represents all that is evil in the world, and I will never be able to emotionally separate its good functionality from its bad circumstances. So hasta la vista. 

7. Bumping into those distant acquaintances on Grounds

Don’t you miss it — you know, interacting face-to-face with the little extras in the movie of your life? Running into the guy who falls asleep every morning in that 8 a.m. discussion at Newcomb? Seeing some girl jogging the same exact route every day and wondering where the heck her energy and motivation comes from? Those little encounters have certainly been missing from my life the past couple of semesters. While I used to hate seeing somebody from my first-year COLA and wondering whether or not it would be awkward to wave, I now miss simply having the dilemma altogether. 

8. Not having a COVID-related project in every class

As a public policy student, this is inescapable. And that is fair enough. But even some of the electives I’ve taken the past three semesters absolutely shoehorned topics on COVID-19 in for relevance. And, you know what? Statistics is already painful enough — I don’t need to add a pandemic to the curriculum. Yes, vaccine efficacy is a great example of confidence intervals or whatever. But do I want to think about that? Absolutely not. Give me my 84 percent, and let me live.

9. Holding onto your precious saliva

Rapid saliva testing has probably been a major reason why the University has seen such low cases since, well, fraternity and sorority rush. But I will be excited to partake in saliva testing again. First off, they 100 percent made the tube narrower this semester, which just added another challenge I didn’t need. Secondly, there is something incredibly dehumanizing about standing in a parking lot and spitting over a loading dock next to 15 complete strangers. So, thank you — but goodbye. 

10. Actually attending college

Altogether, every little point I made above adds up to a greater truth — online college isn’t the same. Even if you’ve been in Charlottesville, studied outside on the Lawn and made time for friends, there is still so much we have missed out on. Whether you’re a current first year who hasn’t gotten a real lecture yet or a rising fourth year who is eager to return to the things that once annoyed you, get ready and get excited.