Person sitting at desk with a button up shirt on a cat themed pajama bottoms

IBS and Distance Learning

With the world opening back up and universities declaring in-person classes are to resume, I started to reflect on the past year and a half of distance learning with IBS. And to be honest, this transition back to "normal" living is bittersweet. On one hand, I am excited to resume in-person classes and to feel connected to my peers again. On the other hand, when we were in quarantine, it was much easier for me to manage my IBS and not be embarrassed by my symptoms. Here is what I will miss:

Wearing loose pajama pants

I will miss wearing loose pajama pants under my desk because my classmates can only see what my camera shows them. At the beginning of my distance learning journey, I dressed as if I was still going to campus. My usual clothing consisted of a sweater or a button-up shirt and jeans or leggings. However, as time went on, my clothing habits started to become more and more casual. So casual, in fact, that I started wearing pajama pants because no one could
see them. And if we are being honest here, pajama pants are the best kind of pants for IBS.

Accessible bathroom breaks

On days where I am gassier than usual or need more bathroom breaks, I will miss the ease of turning off my camera and muting my microphone so no one will know what is happening on my side of the screen. When I still had classes in person, I was always afraid of being in the bathroom for too long and missing a good chunk of the lecture. So I always tried to plan my class schedule with enough time for a bathroom break if needed. Now, with distance learning being in the comfort of my own home, I could have all of the time and baby wipes that I needed to make myself feel comfortable.

Getting dressed to not impress

And most of all, I will miss the simplicity of getting dressed in the morning, because I didn't have to worry about how I would feel or look in an outfit while bloated. To be honest, some of this does stem from the fact that I gained weight during quarantine and now I have to learn how to dress a different body type. And adding bloating on top of that new body type does not sound like my idea of fun. Because distance learning was in my home, I didn't have to feel judged for how I looked. But as we transition back to reality, my brain is starting to care about what other people think of me again - and I am not enjoying this feeling.

Getting back to life as we know it

But when it's all said and done, we are still transitioning back to a full-functioning society. So I choose to look forward to being on campus for my senior year. And I choose to be happy about being around my peers and classmates again. From this moment on, I will choose to look on the positive side of this situation, because the only thing I can do is embrace the change that is coming my way.

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