From COVID-19 to College

From COVID-19 to College

Izzy McCarty, Reporter

Awkward Driver’s License photo, new to you car. Mommy doesn’t hold your hand anymore, now it’s that cute guy from French’s fingers intertwined with yours. You’re living the life of that coming-of-age movie star, blowing out the candles of childhood and welcoming the unfamiliar embrace of adolescence. The whole wide world is yours, until suddenly, it’s not.

 It’s no one’s anymore, really. It belongs to COVID-19 now. Then suddenly, you’re an adult, with student loans and colleges to apply for, signing away your life and your life savings to become that productive member of society that you’re supposed to be. After spending almost two years bound by your parents’ rules and quarantined under their roof, you’re suddenly thrust into the fire of adulthood, expected to be independent and self-sufficient, a reality that you are in no way prepared for. Not only is the class of 2025 tasked with managing their expectations of the college experience, they are also tasked with managing their expectations of post-lockdown life, some attending their first in-person classes since spring 2020 as soon as they get to the Rock. The whole experience is the sheer definition of overwhelming, even more so than for the freshman classes of the past. 

 So many previously unpursued questions now go unanswered. How much detergent is too much? Who do you call when your car makes that funny sound? How do you not get overwhelmed by all the friend making and new experiences of the first semester? 

You may ask, how does one handle the jump from being a footloose 16-year-old, attending monotonous days of zoom classes in their bedroom to being a big,bad college student, forced to confront the social handicap provided by the pandemic in their now full time pursuit of finding The College Friend Group? The short answer is well, not well. With little to no established emotional and personal independence, thanks to having to hole up under Mom and Dad’s roof all day every day for the past year and a half, college is nothing short of an ordeal.  As someone who, in my own opinion, flew high above the radar in high school, the first few weeks of college provided nothing short of an identity crisis. I was crying on the phone to my parents every afternoon and completely reevaluating my entire life. I felt like I had been dropped on an island in the middle of the ocean, with no way to escape. No friends, no activities, just hours spent alone in the library, hoping for more homework to do just so I’d have something to fill my time.  Lucky for me, my situation was not unique and RU was more than capable of helping me through it. 

 Resources are a pretty foreign phenomenon to the 2025ers, their only concept of resource in the past two years being the bare snack cabinet that your mom stopped refilling in Mid-April 2020 At RU, however, resources are abundant and can be vital in your transition to college life.  If you’re more of a one-on-one type, the Counseling Center can meet your need. Students can contact Emily Wilcox ([email protected]) for an appointment. Oh, and if any of you prefer a phone number, you can reach the Counseling Center at 816-501-4275. As a recent convert to the counseling train, you really don’t recognize the potential for your quality of life to improve until you try it. Do it, you’ll be thankful you did.

If you’re feeling more social, Active Minds is an awesome mental health organization right here on our own campus, run by students. Here’s what they have to say about the impact of their organization and how IT can help YOU. In the mental health sphere on campus, Active Minds’ role is to educate members on mental disorders, advocate for mental health awareness, and destigmatize hard conversations. The organization can also assist you in beginning your own individual mental health journey. Grace Koeller of the Active Minds E-Board says “Students can use Active Minds as a safe place to turn to in times of struggles. For an hour or so every Tuesday night, students can forget about their struggles or assignments and just be present. Our entire E-Board would be glad to accompany anyone who would like to make an appointment at the Counseling Center as well.” Peer assistance, on campus!! And if you’re anything like me, where my college anxiety comes from lack of participation in social activities, an Active Minds meeting will kill two birds with one stone. Head out to the Quad on Tuesdays at 9 PM for a meeting. 

 Since the last year and some change has been nothing short of a 13 Going On 30-esque time warp dream, you’re bound to experience some growing pains, and definitely not the good ones that mean you’re growing taller, but the ones that keep you up at night regretting your very existence. Transitions are hard, but with the right resources and support, we become exactly who we need to be in the end. The hard part, as difficult and seemingly insurmountable as it can seem, ends. All of a sudden, you have plans on Friday night, study buddies in that class you always sit alone in, and a friendship with that girl across the hall that you’re so intimidated by. I would know, It happened to me.  So in the meantime, let yourself do it. Call your mom twice a day. Look at pictures of your dog when you miss him. Go home every weekend. Feel sad and homesick and tired and overwhelmed. But know that the rough patch ends, know that the sad isn’t forever. And for the love of God, reach out if you’re struggling. Know that you’re not alone, this pep talk is as much for my benefit as it is for yours. You’ll find your people, your space to occupy, and yourself these next four years.  If we can handle the most competitive college admissions cycle in modern history, a pandemic taking away all that is good about high school, and a whole two years of our adolescence, we can handle anything. Keep on trucking, class of 2025.