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A little over a year ago, my therapist would’ve told me not to isolate myself, but in a world ravaged by the coronavirus, I am now forced to. Luckily though, the pandemic has taught me how to handle change, and I recently began the journey to become a more self-accepting, brave, and gentle person.

Dealing with depression and anxiety is difficult enough on its own, and throwing in a global pandemic and my first semester on campus has definitely not helped. I blamed myself for not making friends quickly enough, eating all of my meals alone in my room, and feeling utterly hopeless and thinking that this difficult time will never end. Sunday nights were filled with panic and dread about facing another lonely week. 

As an introvert it has always been challenging to find meaningful connections with people, so as you can imagine, the safety restrictions have limited my opportunities to make friends. In order to meet people, I’ve had to go outside of my comfort zone. I joined several clubs, went to my dorm building’s weekly activities, and had to fight through awkwardly introducing myself time after time. I used to become so angry with myself that I didn’t have close friends like everyone else seemed to. I had to walk alone down Main Street and watch everyone seemingly thrive. All of this combined with my less-than-perfect brain chemistry gave me the feeling that the walls were caving in, and my life as I knew it was over. 

After visiting home briefly to heal and collect myself, I realized something that I should have realized a long time ago: I am living through a literal pandemic. I am doing the best that I can, and that is ok. I don’t have a million best friends after a month in college, and that is ok. Sometimes I feel like giving up on everything, but I didn’t, and I survived 100% of my worst days. I should be proud of myself, and you should be too. Don’t beat yourself up for not being one of the people in the group of friends sitting on the grass. Chances are, their lives aren’t perfect either. You’re not alone in this struggle. 

Focusing on practicing gratitude, self-care, and self-love has been so crucial for me this semester. Even when I lack the motivation to leave my room, I try to go outside and take a deep breath of the spring air. When I’m physically alone, I try to remember who is always there for me via a phone call or a text. Although many college students feel alone during the pandemic, just remember that there is finally an end in sight. Stay safe and hold on, because before you know it, life will feel a whole lot better.

Julia Spina is a sophomore double majoring in Psychology and Sociology at the University of Delaware. She is interested in studying mental illness and aspires to become a clinical psychologist. She enjoys singing, listening to Taylor Swift and emo music, photography, astrology, and skateboarding in her free time.
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