The Gustavian Weekly

Life sucks, what can we do about it? - The Gustavian Weekly

By Tori Smith - Opinion Columnist | September 18, 2020 | Opinion

The past six months have undoubtedly been difficult for everyone in the Gustavus community and beyond. Right now, the world is dealing with a global pandemic, racist injustice in our law enforcement and justice system, and an upcoming election where political tension is at an all-time high. To say that these are difficult times is an understatement, and that’s why it’s more important now than ever before to make mental health in our community a priority.
The past six months have undoubtedly been difficult for everyone in the Gustavus community and beyond. Right now, the world is dealing with a global pandemic, racist injustice in our law enforcement and justice system, and an upcoming election where political tension is at an all-time high. To say that these are difficult times is an understatement, and that’s why it’s more important now than ever before to make mental health in our community a priority.
While everyone’s experiences vary, many people are finding that their mental health has been more difficult to manage during these past few months. Whether it’s stress, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, anger, frustration or all of the above, all reactions are valid. Personally, I have been struggling with a lot of newfound anger and loneliness. I have felt angry towards certain family members and friends and even my school for their decision to keep me away from campus. I have felt alone watching friends return to Gustavus knowing it will be at least three weeks before I can join them. Managing these emotions has been difficult, but I am certainly not alone in this experience. Everyone’s way of life has been altered in some way. We all have our own pandemic stories that we will eventually tell to our grandkids, and many of those stories won’t include particularly happy memories, but if we are able to come together as a community to support one another we might be able to change our stories.
So, how do we as a community help each other during these uncertain times if everyone is dealing with their own personal struggles? Well, it can be as simple as reaching out to people we know who might enjoy a quick text or call. This is a perfect time to send a text to that one friend you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Or that one person you used to talk to in that one class. Or that one person you’ve been crushing on for awhile now. Or that one person you’ve been wanting to get to know. Or that one person you’ve been meaning to call but haven’t gotten around to yet. It could be as simple as commenting on someone’s Instagram post, or it could be as big as setting up weekly virtual coffee dates over Zoom (highly recommend, I look forward to those all week long). Communication, even as small as texting, can have a great impact on someone else. Checking in on friends is important, and it could really help someone in ways you never expected. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own life, especially when life has changed so drastically, but it’s also critical that we support one another as well.
If I’ve learned anything from my experience during this pandemic, it’s that a lot of things in life are fickle. Things can change in an instant, whether we’re prepared for them or not. There are few things we can actually count on, but I believe our community at Gustavus can be one of them. When everything seems so uncertain, we should be able to look to each other for help, guidance, and support. Let’s help build our community back up one text message at a time.

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