Lessons from the pandemic: Take everything as it comes

Madeline Bruce, Editor-in-Chief

For my last opinion piece of the semester, I’ve decided to put a pause on the call-to-action, here’s-another-social-justice-issue-you-should-care-about theme I’ve had for the last three months. I’m tired, and this has been a long semester. That, and I’m out of ideas at the moment.

That’s not to say that there aren’t issues that deserve attention and accessibility and education. But I have plenty of time for that next semester.

From what I’ve heard from other students, this semester has been a rough one. Maybe it’s pandemic burnout or maybe it’s a culmination of typical college stress and life, but everyone I’ve talked to has struggled on a different level this semester.

It hit me the other day that the only students who have experienced a completely normal college year are the seniors, and that made my anxiety spike. We’ve now had 3½ pandemic semesters, and we’re rounding the corner into our fourth.

We have certainly been pushing through this tough time, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t taken a toll on us. We can pretend everything is normal all we want, but the truth is that we will never face the “normalcy” that we had pre-March 2020. And that’s OK.

After all, is there anything that ever stays the same? If I’ve learned anything from being a young adult and a college student in the pandemic, it’s that change is the only constant in life. It’s OK to be scared or uncomfortable in the face of that change, but if you want anything to happen in life, you have to take it as it comes.

That’s why we keep pushing on in the face of this pandemic. Even when it’s exhausting, even when we can’t take the daily unknowns, the new variants, the positive tests and the quarantines, we keep going because we know that life goes on. It has to. If we were to stay paralyzed in fear of change and the unknown, we wouldn’t go anywhere. Society wouldn’t progress and our own lives wouldn’t progress. And life without progress, even the smallest amount, is bleak.

I found that I’ve applied this to other things in my life. I don’t get quite as worked up about things as I used to, because a lot of things are out of my control. When the pandemic first hit, I got so upset about it that I had debilitating stomach aches so badly that I couldn’t eat and lost an unhealthy amount of weight in a short period of time. Looking back on it, I realize these stomach aches were the physical manifestation of the anxiety and worry about the massive change I had just endured.

There has been so much change and unknowns in the last two years that if I had allowed myself to worry about all of it, the stomach aches I had in the early days of the pandemic would have lasted forever and impaired my daily life.

Now, if something goes wrong, someone upsets me, or I face an unforeseen change, I let myself be upset about it at first, but then I move on.

I think that’s important – to acknowledge emotions but not let them debilitate you. Life does go on, after all, and we must continue as well.


[email protected]