There are posters on every door, round stickers on every floor, and enough masks to cover the earth's surface. What does it look like to practice social distancing? It's merely just limiting contact with other people. It's the opposite of most of our instincts. It's wearing a mask, ensuring six feet of distance between you and others, and washing your hands every chance you get. Most importantly, it's crucial for keeping yourself and others safe.
It's no secret that it's not fun having to practice social distancing. Even introverts can only survive being alone for so long before desiring connecting with another human. As the 2020 fall semester approaches, one might wonder if it's possible to stay connected with friends and family when practicing social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. Greenville University has announced a plan to return to face-to-face learning this fall. Still, many other colleges and universities are going entirely online, producing hybrid classrooms, or sending students home early.
Additionally, just because your college is returning to campus doesn't mean things resume normal. There will be precautions set in place everywhere you go. No matter what situation you find yourself in, it's completely normal to feel that staying connected is nearly impossible.
You've heard it all. Schedule zooms. Call your friends. Exercise. Text a cousin. Advice for not being lonely during this time is the same. Not to say it's not good advice. Those things are essential, but we've been holding on to them for a long time. Some of us are feeling like that advice is not enough. Frankly, sometimes it's not. Humans were made to need contact. You're not crazy for feeling a little crazy.
On a more specific note, college is all about connections. We are a generation (Gen Z) that feeds off of it regularly. We are the first generation to live our entire lives with internet access. Social media is our impulse. We are also a generation filled with loneliness. And- we know it. This formula is not adding up quite right. The constant desire for information plus loneliness and now a pandemic only equals a disaster, or so it seems.
It's going to take some adjusting to, but a new normal is on the other side of the equation. As painful as it is to hear, the type of connection we are used to just isn't going to exist for a while. For college students such as GU that are fortunate enough to return to campus, be thankful. Events, gathers, and activities will be unfamiliar at first. Adjustments will be made, and it's going to be a type of student life that you will have to give yourself time to get used to. Be grateful to see your friends, professors, and mentors, even if it is through a mask. For those in a hybrid situation, think of it as an opportunity to grow into both scenarios. You have the chance to get a taste of college life from both ends of the stick. For those completely online, don't give up or lose hope. Of course, life looks different, but it won't last forever, and this season of life has the potential to teach you a lesson or two.
Together, we will get through this! Click here for GU's frequently updated response to COVID-19.