Opinion: Life as an IWU student in the midst of a pandemic

By James Stein Oct 1, 2021
Photo by Bryant Cobb
Photo by Bryant Cobb

It is difficult maintaining a social life in college while navigating through a worldwide pandemic. Unfortunately Covid does not look like it will be leaving us anytime soon. After a large outbreak of cases occurred after the first full week of school, we were reminded  that even though we are at school and away from home, COVID is still here and will follow us everywhere in the near future. Many people I talk to are in denial and possess the ideas that it will go away once everyone gets vaccinated or that it isn’t even harmful to begin with. Denial in general can be considered a dangerous cocktail, especially mixed with the “typical” college lifestyle and the covid situation.

Covid is dangerous for a reason; just because you didn’t get sick or feel that sick when you had it doesn’t mean that other people reacted the same way. The problem is that everyone is used to covid now. People are used to it being around and are comfortable joking about it. For most it isn’t nearly as bad or scary as it was that first day on spring break when we realized that we wouldn’t be returning to school anytime soon. 

We stayed in the house for months, got groceries delivered, and worked from home. People were terrified of contracting the deadly virus. Some people are still terrified, but instead of staying at home or not socializing in person, we all decided that it was a good idea to come back to college because we can’t hide in our houses forever. For a lot of people, coming to college and moving away from home was supposed to be an escape and the start of something new. 

 I think that’s why many students were in denial when they saw the covid number on campus after that first weekend of partying. The idea of college being a safe place to have fun and learn new things may have been crushed, and 

the reality that it’s virtually impossible to run away from covid may now be the reality we all have been avoiding. 

Although the feeling of impending doom that covid is going to last forever and things are never going to get better may be commonly felt, getting vaccinated is the only solution. Walgreens and CVS are administering free vaccines, you just need to schedule an appointment on their websites. Not only will it help you from not getting as sick if you do end up getting covid, but it will also protect your friends that have now become your new little family as you learn to live and make decisions for yourself. The second thing to do is to encourage others to get vaccinated. 

Something  to consider is that you can’t force someone to do something they don’t want to do. This will save you from a lot of arguments, especially if it’s being discussed between you and your new friends. You are only in control of yourself and your actions at the end of the day; you can assist and give advice to others but that’s it. Be an independent person. So if there is a social function that people you know are attending, before you join them just ask yourself if you will truly have a nice and safe time. Don’t make your decisions based on anyone else’s. If you are questioning going out, then don’t. 

I believe that a popular issue students feel from covid is FOMO (fear of missing out). Wear a mask when you are supposed to wear a mask and if you aren’t comfortable don’t go. If you know you’re going out, be more courteous to those around you that aren’t. Be your own person and make your own decisions. Especially if it is with new friends, it is important to set boundaries for your comfort zone, not theirs. 

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