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Mental Health

Learning to be Optimistic About This Semester

If you’re a college student, chances are you’ve heard all the “How long until we get sent home?” jokes. COVID-19 has completely changed the traditional college experience. College freshmen won’t be getting their “freshmen experience,” in-person classes are few and far between, and there’s been a lingering fear over the uncertainty of how this pandemic will end. 

The idea of not being able to freely explore around campus or my college town without having to be wary of large groups, or people not wearing their masks will be a big change. After all, college is all about independence. It's about self-discovery without the pressure from your hometown life. While I’m disappointed about my classes being online or not being able to see friends as often, the fact that COVID-19 has taken a part of my independence away is probably the hardest part to accept. This pandemic has felt like some overbearing entity whose control over our lives has only grown into over the past few months.

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As I stepped back onto campus for the first time, however, I realized that the only way to overcome the emotional burden of COVID-19 was to have an open mind. Just because this semester won’t be “normal” does not mean it will be bad. It's easy to get caught up in “what could’ve been” instead of cherishing the “what is.” I try to take a couple of minutes each day to remind myself of how lucky I’ve been during this pandemic. My family is happy and healthy, I can see old friends in a socially distanced manner, and can still take (virtual) classes taught by amazing professors. During this heavy, dark time, it's especially important to actively bring positivity into my day.

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While being optimistic, we can still allow ourselves to mourn the loss of our “normal life.” It’s okay to be sad at the possibility of being sent home early or to be disappointed that a class you were excited about moved online. I’ve learned that keeping a healthy mindset is about all balance for me. So, however this semester ends up going, I will continue to remind myself to acknowledge my feelings of disappointment or sadness, while still taking time to celebrate the great parts of life.

Christine Dinh

Virginia Tech '22

A Professional & Technical Writing major and lover of Arrested Development, kittens, and coffee ice cream!
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