By Cambron Alsbrook
This semester is the first in nearly two years where in-person classes are open at Cameron, and in my own case, there are hard lessons I have had to learn and decisions I made to grow during these two years.
Knowing this, I had to consider what I can do to ensure I am being as safe as I can, while still having time with friends and being involved on campus.
My highest priority suggestion is to learn to create and set boundaries for friends and family.
For example, I am comfortable enough to hang out with vaccinated friends unmasked, but only if there is an established level of communication and trust to not endanger each other by meeting up with symptoms, and we also retain social distance.
Boundaries are important to learn how to set, because otherwise you push yourself too far and become numb to your own wants and needs.
Learn how to set boundaries in your relationships and prioritize checking on yourself prior to agreeing to things, and you will likely see a lot of development within yourself.
Next is to make as much of an effort as you can towards planning stuff out — but set up a safety net of grace for yourself when you cannot stick to the plan.
Cameron has resources to help with class organization and is very fortunate to have so many professors that are open to communicating with students about assignments and strategies.
This goes together with the other two things mentioned, but I recommend at least trying out counseling.
The Student Wellness Center offers counseling that is included in student tuition, so talking with a counselor can help fight loneliness and isolation – and you are already paying for it anyways.
Before going further, note that it is a different thing entirely to read advice, and another to do it.
I have had many problems surface because of the pandemic, and I also have had to step back several times and evaluate my perspective on what life means to me, and not the “me” I present to other people.
I read a bit of a book titled “The Inner Game of Tennis” by Timothy Gallwey, and admittedly I still have to finish it as of now, but there is an idea presented in the book that within everyone there exists two “selves.”
You have “Self 1,” the “thinking self,” and “Self 2,” the “performing self.” Both work together to accomplish things by method of relay and perform.
According to Gallwey’s text, the two perform best together when the mind is quiet and nonjudgmental to itself.
I recommend reading the text, as even the early concepts introduced give advice and perspective that applies to so many different faucets of life.
I have learned to be gracious and try not to criticize my failures. So, my last bit of advice is to see the low grade or late assignment not as a personal failure, but as something that simply needs to be corrected.
If you – like I am – are stressed and burnt out, it is completely understandable to be, as we are currently living in an intense political climate amidst a global pandemic.
Try your best to seek mental high-ground and know that there are plenty of people on campus that are willing to help and talk.
Here is to a year of self-awareness and self-love.