Staff Editorial: Take care of yourselves

This term seems to have left everyone far more exhausted than any other in recent memory. From the added stress of online classes to the severe lack of social interaction that helps keep us pushing in the late weeks of every term, the whole student population seems to be running low on fumes. And because of that, we, as an editorial board, would just like to say: hang in there. 

Even in normal times, Lawrence is a stressful place. Many students are extremely involved in academics, clubs, sports and just trying to have a social life. However, this term, it is even worse thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a very stressful election. If that wasn’t enough, this term we lost our reading period, a time many students utilize to rest and recover. 

With all this in mind and so many other factors at play, for many of us, it has become increasingly difficult to actually take care of ourselves. Back when things were “normal,” this wasn’t particularly easy either. Let’s be honest, almost all of us have fallen victim to the infamous Lawrence Busy — bragging about how few hours of sleep we have gotten or the debilitating amount of homework we have. But, now, messages about self-care and drawing boundaries seem to be coming from every Zoom call and embedded in every one of the million emails.

All of these messages beg the question: how does one actually implement these practices? Well, first of all, we must remember to avoid perfectionism in self-care. Learning to celebrate small victories, sometimes as small as just getting out of bed in the morning, can pave the way to future growth. Strive to concentrate on improving your successes rather than agonizing over mistakes. We came to Lawrence to learn, and one lesson that we seem to be consistently tested on is learning to take care of ourselves. 

A helpful reminder to yourself might be that, especially in this stressful time, you cannot really fail. “Failure” is just a learning opportunity. We have all heard this before, but it is especially true when it comes to school. We are all here for a common purpose: to educate ourselves and become more self-sufficient and confident. Take time every day or every time you start an assignment to remind yourself that this is an opportunity and not a life-and-death challenge; you need not go into fight or flight mode when the last thing we all need is more stress.

All students on campus are dealing with a confusing environment that would normally, and to some extent still does, promote socializing. However, it also promotes distance and isolation. Reconciling these two truths is difficult, but at least it is something that we, as Lawrentains, can know we’re not alone in. Just like Freshman Studies, this experience is something we can look back on and reminisce about; whether it be through tears or laughter, this is certainly a time that will bind us to each other for the rest of our lives. 

Students residing off campus are certainly not exempt from these added stressors either and are even facing other, possibly more unique, ones. Living off-campus can mean a lot of things: sleeping in your childhood bedroom, renting an apartment for the first time, and likely a lot of uncertainty. These circumstances are not what we expected when we applied to an almost entirely residential college, and they certainly aren’t ideal.

Regardless of your living situation this term, it’s important to at least try to be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself for sleeping later than you intended. Wear those comfy pants. Close the screen and log off of Zoom. As President Burstein likes to say, “Do well and be well.” This term, that might just mean being gentle with yourself and striving to do the best you can given the circumstances.


Letters to the Editor can be sent in to Opinions & Editorials Editor, Genevieve Cook, at lawrentian@lawrence.edu. We review all letters and consider them for publication. The Lawrentian staff reserves the right to edit for clarity, decency, style and space. All letters should be submitted on the Monday before publication, and should not be more than 350 words.

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