I don’t know about you, but I have never been through a pandemic before. Within the past week, my college announced its transition to online courses, my work shifts were canceled until at least the end of the month, my friends and residents started moving out of our dorms, and the experiences I was looking forward to the most -including some Active Minds events that my chapter had been working hard to plan- were canceled.
In Greece, my family is staying at home following instructions from the Greek Ministry of Health to slow the outbreak, following the shutdown of schools, bars, restaurants, shopping centers, cinemas and theatres by the government. I can’t help but wonder, can I really be sure my family is safe? Should I fly home? If so, now or later in the semester? Will there even be flights then? Will I be able to finish my courses online from overseas? If I leave now, will I be able to return in August? How long until normalcy returns? I have many questions, and very few answers; it’s frustrating.
But it’s comforting to know that (social distancing measures aside) I am not alone. Even in the middle of this stressful, worldwide quarantine, I feel warm and grateful knowing that humans all over the world are doing their best to protect, support, and help each other, despite their justified fear.
I am not qualified to give advice, so I won’t. I am just hoping that my words serve as a reminder to hold on to the good stuff – whatever it is that encourages you to move forward.
This past week, I have been telling myself that the rapid changes might be overwhelming, but this too shall pass. Humans have always adapted, and we will get through this as well. The love and support of friends and family is still there (even if it has to be virtual). Art, literature, games, music, and films are still there. The progress we have made, as individuals or as college students, will not be erased.
So, I am being as patient as I can, showing compassion for others and for myself, and orienting myself to a new routine. I am comforted by the fact that, just like my family and friends, I am doing what I can to keep the people in our respective communities safe.
To learn more about creating community in a time of social distancing, head to our mental health Resource Hub.