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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

The start of a new semester can be stressful enough already, but with omicron looming over university life, it is hard not to feel the pressure. While battling the ever-changing guidelines has been difficult for everyone, the woes of being a student are quite unique. Many young people worry about whether they’ll be able to keep up with classes if they get sick or wonder if their extracurriculars will be ruined due to an outbreak. All these worries are valid, but they have added an extremely toxic and aggressive “COVID culture” to university life.

Specifically, students have been playing the blame game with one another. If a friend gets COVID, instead of supporting them, we are blaming them for exposing us. I, myself, have been guilty of this. When you miss out on fun events because of possible exposure to COVID, it’s hard not to look for a scapegoat. But your friends aren’t to blame.

I’ve seen so many students completely cutting off their friends just for exposing them to COVID. When, in reality, nobody asked for this. Your friend didn’t ask to get sick, and they most definitely weren’t trying to pass it on to you.

Whenever I find myself falling into the trap of “COVID culture,” I try to remind myself what life was like before the pandemic. If your best friend gave you the flu, you wouldn’t ostracize them. You would deal with the sickness and then go back to your normal life.

I am in no way trying to minimize the pandemic. Countless people have died, and several others have had to deal with the loss of loved ones. However, if you have a mild case of COVID, you shouldn’t allow it to become the end of the world. Granted, your health is important, but so are your friendships. In times like this, relationships with others are vital. The world is scary, and at some point, you will need someone to lean on. So, instead of falling into the blame game of “COVID culture,” be kind to others. Getting sick is hard enough without having to deal with the wrath of your friends.

Hi! I'm Emily Costantino and I am a Journalism and Digital Content major at Susquehanna University. I work as both an on-campus member and a national writer for Her Campus.
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