At 9:58 p.m. on a random Thursday in May, I submitted my last final and closed my laptop, signaling the end of my freshman year of college. The ending of my freshman year was about as anticlimactic as me closing my laptop, but I did feel slightly relieved that a part of it was over. Yet with this relief, I realized that one crucial emotion was missing: pride. I was not proud of myself that I finished the semester because it merely felt like any other day.
I came to realize that this is the most common effect of Zoom fatigue, not the lack of social skills or the burnout, but the pride in what we do. Doing everything on a screen makes us feel overwhelmed, and at the same time, it feels like we are doing nothing at all. All the classes feel pointless, and the club meetings always feel like you’re superficially making a difference. This absence of pride is a side effect of an online life.
We should be proud of ourselves for finishing this year because this year was motivated only by one person — ourselves. Regardless of whether you took your classes for a letter grade or opted for pass/no pass, you should be proud of how far you’ve come. Whether it was personally, socially or academically, we all grew this year in one way or another, and we should be proud of that! We often decide whether or not we should be proud of ourselves based on a grade, or whether or not we feel like we did “enough.” However, every club meeting did count. Even if it was just one assignment turned in every few days, our personal and academic progress counts, and it matters.
It’s important to take a step back and evaluate how far we have come in the past year. The year itself has been long, but the personal journey we all had to take to get where we are today has been much longer.