I originally planned on taking this editorial in a different direction, but after hearing the same complaint from many of my friends and peers, I’ve decided that this is what I want to say.
There hasn’t been a single day in the six months that I’ve been able to stop thinking about COVID-19.
Especially this past month, my thoughts are plagued with the fear that myself or someone I love could have COVID-19 and not even know it.
I have a hard time studying for tests or even in general now, I can’t help but wonder what the point is.
What if we get sent home this week? What if tomorrow I wake up to an email saying we’re going back into the full orange phase where all I can do is sit alone in my room when it rains because I can’t see my friends outdoors?
I feel exhausted, and it’s a new type of exhaustion.
I’ve experienced burnout before, but this feels entirely new. I don’t want to sound whiny or ungrateful, but for lack of better words, this just sucks.
I can’t bring myself to not feel exhausted in class. I’m not as upbeat or happy as I was pre-pandemic. Before we went into the modified orange phase, I found myself crying in my room, wondering if I should’ve just taken the semester off or studied online at home.
So when I have professors get upset at my classmates or me for missing class, or being late to class, or not giving “enough effort,” I find myself bitter. What exactly do you want from us? I don’t want to fake being happy 24/7. I don’t want to pretend like I’m not anxiety-ridden under the looming threat of being sent home again. I don’t want to act like this is normal, because it isn’t, and I know I’m not the only one feeling this way.
I see it in my peers, in my friends. I see how tired and scared we are.
We’re facing a global pandemic, the presidential election is in two months, unemployment rates were astronomical this summer and according to the CDC, we’re slated to hit a second wave of COVID-19 this winter.
The degrees that we’ve been working so hard for may be meaningless when this all ends because we don’t know what the future looks like anymore. We don’t know if we’re going to have a job when we graduate.
I’m not asking for an easy “A” or for everything to be made simple. I’m still going to try my hardest, and I know many of my peers are too. What I’m asking for is a bit of compassion for students.
To the professors that have been compassionate and have reached out to students, thank you. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed; Nevertheless, this isn’t a regular semester, and it will not be a regular semester. We may not see a “normal” semester for a long time, and that’s a hard reality to come to terms with.
My takeaway from this is just to please cut us some slack. We’re trying, and I’m trying. I know that this has been hard for everyone, and I think it’s time that we realize we need to start patting ourselves on the back for making it this far because it’s draining. It’s exhausting. It’s emotional. It’s infuriating at times.
I know this is hard, it’s hard for everyone, and it’s time we stop treating this like it’s easy.