Though recent events have put a damper on everyone’s normally good moods around this time of year, there’s no denying that the natural world is in a period of renewal and regrowth. Temperatures are rising, the sun is shining, and the birds are chirping. Spring inches closer each day and will finally arrive on Thursday, March 19 during our week of spring break.
In contrast to the peacefulness of the outside world, the past week at UConn has been a rough one filled with the stress of midterms and questions about how classes will be carried out for the next few weeks. At a time when students should normally be excited for spring break plans, they’re preparing to leave the university for several weeks while in-person classes are suspended. All of this has caused a great deal of anxiety, sadness and uncertainty.
Fortunately, students have a week of spring break before they must begin taking classes online, and this week should give students some space and time to calm down and reassess everything.
At this point, students might want to take a cue from the environment: It’s time to spring back. There are a lot of negative emotions floating around now, but harboring anger, resentment and distress won’t allow anyone to move forward. Of course, things are not all sunshine and roses — though it is lighter later and flowers are starting to pop up — but keeping a positive outlook will be of more help than complaining and worrying.
Resiliency is a practice, not a character trait. Some will be more resilient than others, but everyone can implement certain behaviors to bounce back after adversity.
Over the next few weeks, try to maintain a hopeful mindset. It is important to prepare for the worst, but it’s also essential to hope for the best. If you cast your gaze toward the ground, you won’t see the sun. By focusing on the positive, you can empower yourself to move forward, past setbacks.
Keep things in perspective, and be grateful for all the positives in your own life. Don’t allow current events to convince you that your entire future will look the same. You might be unable to change problematic circumstances right now, but you can change your interpretation of and reaction to them. Strong feelings that you currently have will eventually fade, and you will find a new balance.
It’s not always easy to keep your head up, but the effort is worth it. Often, we allow ourselves to be knocked down too quickly by adverse events, so it is important to recognize your agency in your situation. Redirect negative or irrational thought patterns and make room for changes.
Moreover, interact with people who lift you up. Don’t waste your time with those who fixate on the negative. Surround yourself with compassionate, understanding individuals, and aim to be empathetic yourself.
Over break, take care of yourself. Eat healthy but allow yourself a treat once in a while. Similarly, exercise but don’t push too hard. Catch up on sleep and establish a schedule that will allow you sufficient rest. The break is time to spend on yourself, have fun and relax.
The break is not time to spend wallowing in stress or disappointment, though it is okay to feel let- down for a little bit. You’re allowed to feel however you feel, but it is important to pick yourself back up. The time that you spend knocked down is time that you could have used to move forward, to move to a better place.
In the next few weeks, cultivate resilience. Don’t let your circumstances hold you down. Take control, think positive and push forward.
Take a cue from the world outside your window this spring. Like nature itself, regenerate and return — stronger now.
Stephanie Santillo is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.