And so it begins, Denison’s 2020 fall semester. Usually my anticipatory excitement overflows when all Denisonians reconvene on campus for another semester, but this time, it’s a bit different. Okay, really, really, really, really different. Hopefully everyone is aware of this by now but we are living in a pandemic. Not only are we living in it, but most of us are now dealing with the added stress of pursuing a degree in it. Major bummer.
I’ll admit that the first week or two back on campus were really challenging for me. I mean, not even when I moved in as a baby freshman was I this upset. So as a junior, I thought I would’ve handled it better. I should cut myself some slack though because, like we all know, we are in a pandemic. I think my excitement for seeing my friends and getting back to everything I love about campus-life blinded me to the reality that I would not be coming back to the same campus that I once knew. This campus feels hostile and impersonal, the complete opposite of what drew me to Denison in the first place. It was a harsh realization, but I think I’m finally over that hump.
Doing what I do best, I established a routine and found comfort in the stability of a schedule. Luckily my class schedule doesn’t look too different than what it normally would with only one all-online class. I go to the academic quad usually every other day, hit up the Mitchell Fitness Center regularly, and always get dinner with friends. Staying active and staying social despite all of the restrictions is key to my sanity right now, so I’m always sure to work those activities into my routine.
Sometimes I think that I place too much importance on a routine and that, in turn, it makes me more stressed out than I normally would be. But truly, I feel that my own form of improving my mental health is sitting down with my pen and planner and making a list. I don’t meditate, I don’t like yoga, but I thoroughly enjoy planning. That, to me, is my meditation. My “me time.”
Some people might think that that’s insane or stressful in itself, but it’s what has gotten me through this weird semester so far. I plan on sticking to that plan.