The pandemic has increased stress in everyone. “Being able to express those struggles and find ways to work through them with professors and fellow students is key to overcoming them,” Autumn Nuzman says. Graphic by Emily Wight.
One of the better things to come out of the pandemic is the increased willingness to admit when we’re struggling.
When people ask how you’re doing, it’s becoming increasingly commonplace to admit that you’re struggling because of health, economic and Zoom-related issues exacerbated by the pandemic, and there’s been an increased level of understanding in regard to those concerns.
Now that there’s a pandemic intensifying these problems, people are more easily able to bond over their mutually difficult experiences. But this shouldn’t just be limited to when we’re in the middle of a pandemic, especially when considering the issues that started before that.
After reading a recent article about how college students are really doing, I felt less alone in my own struggles. It’s been difficult balancing regular schoolwork with capstone requirements, interviews, internships, editing for two publications, and addressing family health concerns among other things. Even spring break, which was a much-needed time to reboot and catch up on sleep, wasn’t exactly stress-free.
Being able to express those struggles and find ways to work through them with professors and fellow students is key to overcoming them. Bouncing things off of others is great for collaborating to find solutions, and even when there are no solutions to be found, sometimes it’s just nice to know we’re not alone.
According to a Psychology Today article: “In many (though not all) situations it’s better for you to discharge negative emotions than to keep them bottled up inside. Whether it’s sorrow, anxiety, anger, or frustrations in general, repeatedly holding in what may need to come out has been related to compromised health — physical, mental, and emotional.”
We should still be cautious about oversharing with the wrong people, but when someone asks how we are, it’s OK to admit something along the lines of, “I’ve been better, but hey, I’m here.”
One thing that’s been helpful for me is professors who set up designated times in the semester to check in and see how things are going in regard to assignments and obstacles. This makes it easier to broach the issues we need to address without having to bring it up in class, and it allows an opportunity to discuss more personalized solutions.
Even when the pandemic has passed, we still need to keep that energy and address when we’re struggling.
If you or anyone you know needs help or guidance, the Booth Wellness Center is a free service for Dixie State University students. It’s open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and closed on the weekends.