Campus News News

Arruda: Don’t accept this reality as ‘normal’

By Joe Arruda

What. A. Year.

It is so hard not to accept the result of the pandemic, the world we are living in now, as “normal.” A mask now impossible to leave without, like your underwear or socks.

Remember sitting at a sporting event and being able to cheer loudly without that thing sliding down your face? Or sitting in class where it is possible to understand a professor without their mumbler?

We have returned to life as normal – the only problem is that life isn’t normal. It’s not normal to constantly have to worry about contracting or spreading a virus, to have to wear a mask in crowds or to completely isolate yourself from the world at any sign of a symptom.

But life has continued on with that as a reality.

And it’s hard.

That’s why we wanted to put this special edition together – so that you understand you’re not alone. We’re all “living” through this pandemic, but your situation is not discredited. Everyone is affected differently, and it is important to acknowledge every one of our differences.

That is why I’m happy with the work our Special Projects Editors, Hayden Choate and Collin Atwood, did to plan an issue covering mental health from so many different angles.

As a senior I find myself overloading my work commitments in a subconscious effort to make up for everything I’ve missed out on throughout the past three-and-a-half semesters. I often have several tasks to complete in one day, leaving little time for sleep.

This semester especially, sleep has been my fourth priority.

It is important for us all to take a step back sometimes, away from the computer, away from a to-do list. Take some time for yourself.

The “best years of our lives” have been plagued and stripped by this virus, but the least we can do is make the most of the time we do have.

Our positives are just having things be somewhat “normal” – but nothing is. Recognizing things that we had taken for granted in the past, like being in large crowds or being able to see someone’s full face, really makes you appreciate little things more.

Remember when the men’s basketball team hosted the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2020? That buzzer-beating layup put our entire campus on hold. After that shot fell through Blake Arena stopped. The electricity of the crowd died out immediately and the Birthplace of Basketball housed hundreds of upset college students.

Since then, we haven’t needed a basketball game to be upset.

Every task or assignment during this Covid period has been overwhelming. I’m really not sure exactly what it is. Maybe we are all just used to the minimized workload of the last couple semesters, when professors understood the effect that the pandemic had on us as students. But now tons of professors are going about life as normal, when normal still feels so far away.

Find a hobby, something that can take you away from school. Reading, going for a walk or hanging out with friends.

If you are struggling with burnout, like me, organize yourself. Write down what needs to be done when and manage your days accordingly. If you feel overworked, delegate. There are others who are willing and able to help. Struggling in a class? Go to your professor’s office hours.

I actually went to office hours once this semester. It’s an 8 a.m. class – which is impossible to manage when sleep is nonexistent. I found myself sleeping through my alarms – like actually, I couldn’t wake up. One time I woke up at 4 in the morning and just stayed up because I was afraid of missing another class and affecting my grade.

When I visited my professor outside of their office, they understood. They filled me in on what I’d missed and helped me understand assignments that were upcoming.

The sudden change of pace has made us all remarkably susceptible to burnout at a much faster rate. How three assignments felt in the past, one feels now. The prospect of searching and applying for full-time jobs, entering the real world and leaving the Springfield College bubble behind is daunting – to say the least.

I have had a wonderful four years here – despite the fact that the pandemic hit in the spring of my sophomore year, and every day since has been full of lost opportunities and experiences.

There are so many people, especially at Springfield College, who are here to help us out. There is the Academic Success Center, the Counseling Center, clubs, our professors and friends who are committed to helping us get through this.

Sure we have seen the light at the end of the pandemic-infested tunnel before – multiple times, actually – but it is still so far away.

Now, opportunities are beginning to come back again. We are nearing the end of a full fall sports season, approaching the winter when we will again welcome the premier high school basketball showcase in the region and hopefully #shakeblake a few more times.

Eventually we will be able to drag ourselves to that light at the end of the tunnel.

Photo Courtesy Springfield College Student Media

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