With August quickly approaching, it’s time for a lot of us students to start thinking about the changes we’re facing with an in-person semester after the virtual semesters we’ve had in the past year and a half. Although some anxieties come with the territory, here are five things that you can look forward to as we say goodbye to Zoom.

1. Group study sessions at Zimmerman Library

If there’s one thing I learned from a year and a half on Zoom, it’s that studying for a test or working on a group project from the confines of my room is painfully difficult compared to the steady, bustling atmosphere of the comforting Zimmerman Library. 

Having friends and classmates to bounce ideas off of or to ask questions is easily the best way to have the most rounded understanding possible of any given material, so it’ll be a relief to escape the monotony of my thoughts and my thoughts alone.

2. Grub in the SUB

Food is fuel, and nothing feels quite like getting out of a long lecture or an intense lab and heading to the Student Union Building for a bite to eat.

With seven restaurants, the Mercado Corner Store and Satellite Coffee, a visit to the SUB is easily flexible, whether you need a 30-minute lunch or a quick pit stop between classes. Somehow walking 20 feet to the fridge doesn’t have the same appeal.

3. In-person classes

Navigating the treacherous waters of solely online education has been terrible for a lot of us. For those of us taking calculus, chemistry or any other STEM class, it was even worse; some classes simply aren’t equipped to transition to a virtual environment.

Teaching yourself improper integrals and differential equations through a Zoom class where the teacher can’t figure out how to unmute is less than exciting. Real-life, in-person professors are something we all took for granted, but now we should be sure to let them know they’re appreciated as we breathe a sigh of relief walking into class. 

4. Walking to class

This is a simple one, but feeling the fresh air on my face while simultaneously speed-walking in a panic to my class across campus is something I’ve weirdly missed. The best part of the entire year, hands down, is that week or two at the beginning of October when the leaves are changing and the hot Albuquerque air is shifting fast to crisp, cool and comfortable. 

I’m partial to the biting, dry winter air as well, but the fall breeze is a nice refresher as I drudge myself from Mitchell Hall to Dane Smith Hall with crunchy orange leaves underneath my feet. 

5. Better online literacy

Zoom University was undeniably awful. However, that doesn’t mean we have to abandon everything we learned from it. Even before the pandemic, students and professors alike struggled with consistent emails and general communication (or lack thereof). 

During our time in distance learning, I feel confident in saying that both my skills as an emailer and my professors’ skills as communicators improved drastically. Here’s hoping this semester will be filled with quick replies and greetings at the beginning of emails (from everyone).

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and even an enthusiastic sophomore turned mildly jaded senior like myself can agree that an in-person fall semester is a much-needed reprieve from a year of Zoom calls. Gone are the days of muting your microphone for the whole class — now you can just not talk for the whole class and still get credit for being there! No matter how chatty you are, we can all treasure the underrated, once under-appreciated pleasures of UNM in person this semester. 

Emma Trevino is the culture editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at culture@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @itsemmatr