"Ordering bubble tea in between study breaks, sharing food with my roommate, late night hangouts with boarders, waving to my friends in the halls, planning trips with other proctors, staying after class to catch up with my teachers after a weekend,” Cici Liang ’22 said. “These are all such little things that I took for granted before Covid-19. But after being back home in China doing virtual school for a year and a half, these are the types of things that I’m paying extra attention to now.”
Over a year and a half ago, Cici was on cloud nine, she had just become a proctor in the boarding community and she was eager to begin planning events for boarders and assuming all proctor responsibilities. When suddenly, all boarding students were instructed to book their flights home for the unforeseeable future due to the Covid-19 pandemic that was sweeping the nation.
Cici recalls being confused, nervous, apprehensive, yet excited to spend time with her family when she was sent back home. She notes that the first few months of remote learning was a whirlwind.
“It was really tough at first, taking classes in the middle of the night, trying to attend virtual Resident Life events when I couldn’t stay awake for them, feeling lonely and missing my friends,” she said. “Although I found comfort in knowing that I wasn’t alone, I really just missed the boarding community.”
While dealing with all of the adjustments associated with remote learning, Cici explains that there was one silver lining in that year and a half:
“There are other Chinese students in the boarding community, including my sophomore year roommate, Iris,” she said. “And I was actually able to see her while we were back home in China which was really comforting.”
After her time away from The Hun School, Cici notes that she was excited to come back, but was nervous at first given the time she had been away. And although she had a few worries about returning, as soon as she stepped on campus, it felt like she hadn't missed a thing.
“I had feelings of excitement and also had the feeling of being a little unfamiliar with the place, the new students and new changes,” she said. “After being with my family in China for so long, I was worried that I would feel lonely or homesick when I made it back to campus, but thankfully, all of my nerves went away as soon as I got back in the dorms and saw so many familiar faces.”
Since being on campus again, Cici is working hard at her proctorship and is taking every opportunity to connect with the rest of the boarding community. She notes that if this experience taught her anything, it is that no moment is too small to forget.
“I’m taking it all in and enjoying every single moment, even the small ones that you don’t think matter,” she said. “Because they do matter. They matter more to me now than they have ever before. This whole experience has really shown me how special being a boarder is and no one will ever understand the bond that these experiences create for us.”