Finally, we get to return to our beloved Mississippi State University soil for classes. After the sudden shift to online instruction in March, I think it is fairly universal to assume we were all confused, scared and barely learning. Basically, 2020 has become a synonym for chaos, but it is not over. We can use the tools we learned over quarantine, such as social distancing, using Zoom, hand washing and mask wearing, to not only stay safe in the apocalypse but to make this semester a better learning experience. We should do our best to make our new normal and the transition back to campus graceful.
There are health risks involved with going back to school during a pandemic, but the plan to have classes divided between in-person and online is still better than complete social isolation. However, it is essential we exercise the habits we picked up during quarantine and use these new practices to be responsible in our new situation. To enjoy the benefits of in-person classes, we have to be willing to sacrifice some comforts for the greater good of our education.
As for our new normal, it will take the participation of everyone to make this a safe and functioning environment. People can complain all day about wearing masks or having more online classes than expected, but we should approach this new normal with optimism because it is healthier for everyone.
According to Kristin Wong with The New York Times, "Optimism doesn't require you to sweep those anxious, negative feelings under the rug. It's not about smiling when you don't feel like it. Optimism is simply being hopeful about the future, even when the present feels wholly negative."
While we acknowledge and work through the stress of this year and the future, we must also be optimistic in order to make this coming semester more bearable and worthwhile. Therefore, we need to keep positive attitudes during this crisis. One way to do this is to find hobbies to pass the time between studying and to distract from stress.
Whether it be old or new, hobbies during this confusing time will help us with stress, normalcy and distraction. There is no denying this is a difficult time in our lives. People have lost jobs and loved ones, and distance learning has not been easy for students or parents. A creative outlet will help with stress through expression and the bliss of busy distraction. USA Today even compiled a list of activities to help people fight solitude, boredom and stress.
Since we do not know what this semester will hold, it would not hurt to have hobbies which can mitigate any potential changes, disruptions or cancelations caused by the pandemic. Following health guidelines, maintaining a positive attitude and adopting hobbies are simple things which will make this new normal and school year work smoothly. It is the small things in daily life that make our days memorable, so why would we not try to make the most of this chaotic time?