Back on Campus with a Whole New Feel

Maggie Campbell ’24 reflects on her transition from online to in-person classes and reminds us of the importance of choosing quality experiences over quantity for a better mental health and well-being. 

When I get asked what it’s like to be an NC State student, I am not sure how to respond. While I was one of the lucky few who stayed on campus for the duration of last year, I don’t yet feel like I have a good grasp of what NC State is like. By the end of the Spring 2021 semester, I could navigate my way around campus, had formed a good group of friends, and felt confident in my ability to do well academically. However, this semester has been something completely new to me; my once desolate study areas are now bustling with people, and it’s hard not to stumble into someone on the walk to class. I can attest that a 180+ person lecture is nothing like rolling out of bed and onto Zoom. Despite this transition, I have still learned so much, grown as a person, and thoroughly enjoyed my time so far at State. Here’s a glimpse into my experience and some wisdom I’ve gained along the way.  

My name’s Maggie Campbell, and I’m a sophomore studying Biochemistry with a minor in Africana Studies. During the height of the pandemic last year, I was eager to use my passion for healthcare in a productive way. This motivated me to volunteer at Express Test NC, an organization providing free Covid-19 tests to underserved populations in the triangle area. This was an amazing opportunity to get hands-on clinical experience and learn more about delivering healthcare to medically underserved patients. I was able to manage this responsibility well along with my classes last year. As many activities return to in-person this semester, I fell into the pool of people that over-committed themselves. On top of working at Express Test NC, I also participate as a facilitator for the Campus Conversations Project, STEM Coach with Goodnight, and an Ambassador for the Honors and Scholars Program. While I love all of the activities I’ve committed myself to, I’ve also learned that it’s okay to say no. 

While it is hard to say no to adding on a fun and unique responsibility, it will be worth it in the long run if you cannot realistically handle it. Your mental health and well-being are much more important than an extra line on a resume. It can be especially difficult to decline something when we are so eager to get more involved on campus, but I always live by the motto of quality experiences over quantity. Only agree to responsibilities you can honestly devote the necessary time towards. 

Last year, I found it hard to put my work away and take breaks. As there was not much happening on campus, I could study the extra hour or get ahead on work without FOMO. This, however, was incredibly exhausting. This semester, with more events on campus and within the Goodnight Scholars Program, I have almost been forced to incorporate breaks into my schedule. Shockingly to me, I have felt refreshed from doing so. No, my work sadly is still there whenever the fun event is over, but I feel more relaxed and prepared to complete the assignment when I am able to balance work with something fun. This is something I wished I had incorporated into my life last year. Even if it is a quick lunch with a friend or a craft lab in the Goodnight lounge, your mind will thank you for taking a break. 

 My time at State has been unique, to say the least. It’s been filled with difficult moments and lessons learned the hard way, but it has also been such a rewarding and joy-filled experience. I would encourage all students to take advantage of the multitude of resources we are afforded like the Counseling Center, Pro Staff members, your peers in Goodnight, and much more. By utilizing the communities around us, recognizing our limits, and balancing hectic life with breaks, I’m hopeful that we can successfully navigate this transition back to on-campus life!