Students all over campus hustle from class to Caf, choir to shower, and meeting to studying. There are no rests or breaks, and the effects are starting to show. People all over campus, including students, faculty and staff, are running on fumes with the promise of summer break as their number-one motivator. Everyone is tired, burnt out, and overworked. College students all over the U.S. have had to overcome and adapt to the changes in socialization as well as academic structure due to the pandemic. However, now that the end is near, there seems to be a heavy weight on students especially. Perhaps it’s the lack of routine breaks that provide time to rest and reboot physically and mentally.
The inability to leave campus and have a physical break from the fast-paced lifestyle of being a college student has created a pressure cooker for the mental and emotional tolls that many individuals are dealing with while on campus. Just the other day, I had a co-worker tell me about their professor, who has been teaching classes amidst losing a parent. There was a pause between the two of us as we recognized how difficult that must be. Similarly, I’ve shared conversations with two friends who have lost loved ones during the pandemic. This has been a source of anxiety for both and naturally affected their academic performance and social lives, changing how much energy they have to give.
Without a break or the health security of protection from COVID-19, college students and faculty are forced to process their pain, grief, and frustrations amidst keeping on top of the regular routine of life. While Luther has been making a push to provide resources through counseling services and trauma processing resources, there is still more the college can be doing. Finals are three weeks away and students are beginning to feel even more stressed. Seniors are grappling with the realities of their last moments with friends, faculty, and being on campus while having beloved traditions taken away from them due to the pandemic. Underclassmen are bogged down with assignments, final projects, presentations, and research proposals all coming to a head.
Looking forward, it’s safe to say that the seasonal change to summer will bring about a moment for everyone to take a pause to process, breathe, and reconnect with each other. There is a sense of hope that is brought with the vaccine roll-out, as well as the warmer weather, in addition to the promise that while life may feel stagnant, time will inevitably pull us forward. Graduation day will be here soon, new adventures will commence, and life will continue to happen. For now, it’s just a matter of making it to the finish line.