After over a year and a half of online education, having to stay at home, and, for many, not being on UNC Charlotte's campus, we are back to a somewhat "normal" semester. It feels different and is hard to get used to a campus packed with students again, having to go to class in-person and wearing clothes other than sweatpants. While this is a bigger change than we have been accustomed to for a long time, it is exciting and full of opportunities. Now that we are back, I think it is a great time to take advantage of and make the most of the semester ahead.

One important thing students should do is to get involved on campus. I know we hear it all the time but getting involved is a great way to enhance your college experience. While many clubs and organizations had to refrain from meetings and events during the height of Covid-19, there are many opportunities now to meet in person. There are constant reminders about events from various UNC Charlotte social media accounts. There is also Niner Engage which provides information on university clubs and organizations and allows for the opportunity to email or join. Start by considering your interests, passions, or even something different and new, and then look for an event or organization. With such a large school and a diverse population, you are bound to find something fun and exciting to join.

Next, engage in your classes. Those of us who are fortunate enough to have in-person classes this semester take advantage of the opportunity. Get to know your professors, ask them questions and participate, go to their office hours for extra help, or just to introduce yourself. In addition, take the time to get to know some of your classmates. Especially if you have begun taking classes specific to your major, you will likely encounter these classmates in other courses during future semesters. This can be great for making a new friend, having a study buddy, or just branching out and getting to know someone.

Finally, don't forget your location. We are in Charlotte, after all, and have the Queen City at our fingertips. Take advantage of this! There is so much to do with the big city right down the road. Take the light rail and head uptown for dinner with friends, catch a Carolina Panthers game, see a play, check out the trendy shopping spots and so on. We are different from most universities because we have such a diverse and up-and-coming city in our midst, genuinely adding to our college experience.

While we are still adjusting to getting back to a sense of normalcy, and it can be stressful, try to remember the perks and opportunities that await you. There is so much happening on campus, in classrooms, and in the city that can make this semester spectacular. Put in the effort to find the good and have fun, and you surely will.

we are back now what

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