I think it is fair to say that no-one imagined starting the Fall 2020 semester at home... sitting on our beds… in our "day pajamas" as we listen to our lectures while writing notes in our books. Like many others, I did not envision this to be how I am starting my last year of university- to not be around my friends and not walk down the spine to Swenson with a Starbucks at hand.
The past six months since we last stepped foot on campus have been a whirlwind. From Tiger King quarantine to the Black Lives Matter movement, riots, heatwaves, a glowing Pacific ocean, wildfires, the list is long. I am sure that many of us have experienced all sorts of emotions, which is normal and something we all have in common.
At the beginning of the new school year, I usually write about the summer ending and new beginnings. But, this year, I want to write something a little different. I want to remind one another to be kind.
[bf_image id="q7iz85-ct5als-9rbqy"] We are all going through something during this pandemic. Some issues may be larger than others in comparison, but each one of them are valid. Some people feel lonely without daily contact with their friends and family. Some have lost their jobs and income. Some people are anxious about catching COVID-19. Some have missed out on exciting opportunities. Some struggle with working in an home environment. Some have watched others have COVID-19 and maybe not survive. This is all on top of regular life challenges that pop up regardless of whether there is a pandemic.
In a time where emotions are high and the future is unknown, it is so important to be kind to one another. Take a moment every day to step outside of your bubble headspace to check on those around you because you never know what they might be going through or in return how having the conversation may help you. Also, if someone interacts with you negatively, give them the benefit of the doubt.
Be kind to your professors. Many aren’t tech-savvy and struggle with teaching in an online format. Be patient. Be helpful.
Be kind to your peers. You don’t know what is happening in their lives and what may be the reason behind them not replying to your group messages. Instead of being upset, ask if they are okay.
Be kind to those you live with. Being in a small space with the same people for a long time can be hard. Most likely, they are feeling the same about you. Communicate clearly with one another.
Be kind to the essential workers. They are working long hours, potentially putting themselves at risk of the virus to provide for us.
Be kind to those in your community. Practice social distancing with friends using Facetime. Wear a mask. And don’t be selfish. Your actions to party one weekend may be the reason someone takes their last breath.
Be kind to your family and friends. Connect with them regularly and lean on one another for support.
Be kind to yourself. At the end of each day, check-in with how you are. We are currently going through something that no-one living has experienced before. Take time to read a book, watch a show, or take a relaxing bath. There may be days when it feels like it is too much to handle. That’s okay.
Just remember, kindness can go a long way.
Each day that passes, we get closer to going back to a normal and finding a solution to the pandemic. One day, before you know it, this will be history, and you will be looking back on it.
This too shall pass.