By Katie Sullivan, Staff Writer
Write this paper. Attend this meeting. Complete this reading. Plan this event. Wear a face covering. Be more approachable. Stay physically distanced. Be sure to stay social. Oh, and of course, be sure to have fun!
I know I can’t be the only student on campus that is, well, struggling, to find a balance between the normal expectations a school year brings and adjusting to the changes that we are facing in the midst of a pandemic.
As we bring the first quarter of this incredibly odd semester to a close, I have found that there are a few important things to keep in mind while attacking the unprecedented nature this school year has brought.
Look through the uncomforting words
The irony in the last paragraph is that if I read the word “unprecedented” one more time in a post or an article I might lose my mind. However, I have found that often the information that follows can be essential to happiness or peace. I have begun to look past the statements that make me want to rip my hair out and read on to the helpful tips for remaining sane during the pandemic and the changes it has brought to our daily lives.
I have also caught myself growing uneasy when I see that a lecture has been moved to Zoom due to students or professors being in quarantine. A million questions race through my mind each time I see a Zoom invitation.
“Was I exposed? Do I need to be tested? Can I still smell and taste?” Each time I remind myself that the lecture, or whatever event it may be, is being moved online to ensure our safety.
Sure, every email from President Jagger may be concerning when you see that another student has tested positive for COVID-19, but we need to remember that our number of positive cases is minimal compared to other universities in our division.
Embrace the changes
Resisting the changes COVID has brought our way seems to be my gut instinct. I spent about three months of “spring break” in denial and fear of what would happen. Those three months I dreaded putting on a mask every time I left the house, I hated every minute I spent on Zoom, and I so desperately wished to be able to come back to Wichita to spend time with my friends and teammates. What I didn’t realize was that I was given wonderful opportunities with each adjustment.
The masks I dreaded? I was able to use my newfound free time to learn how to sew. I made masks for nursing homes, friends, and family. I found joy in going to the fabric stores to pick out fun fabric. Sure, the mask may be hiding every time I smile when I walk by someone, but I like to think that by wearing my floral mask I am showing at least a small piece of my happy personality.
The Zoom meetings that were a pain to adjust to? I found comfort in knowing that by completing classes online I was helping to keep those in our community safe. This semester, I have been able to opt into online classes so students that aren’t successful with online learning can have a safe environment inside the classroom. Not to mention, who doesn’t love learning from the comfort of pajamas and a fuzzy blanket?
Not being able to go out with friends? Okay, sure, this one is unfortunate. Quite frankly, it sucks not having normal practices or movie days, but I have found great ways to be positive and productive within my home and my dorm. I’ll begin with the six extra months I got to spend in Kansas City with my family. My sister and I grew closer, my mom taught me her favorite family recipes, and my dad taught me how to complete a few home-improvement projects. When I stopped being bitter about what I was missing out on and focused on being grateful for the opportunities I was given, my entire mood and mindset improved.
So what’s the major key? Gratitude. Be thankful for the hidden blessings found in these unprecedented times. They may be giving you extra time to find new hobbies, new found comforts, or more time to spend around those you love.
PHOTO: Courtesy Photo, unsplash.com