We know the trope “we’re living in unprecedented times” is getting kind of old, but it’s still true. We’re in this weird limbo between the Zoom class eye-strain and in-person classes where we all sit six-feet apart and try not to touch our masks too much. And then we’re expected to social distance and be responsible and keep our community safe so someone’s grandma doesn’t die. It’s serious stuff.

The world feels like it’s crumbling around us between the massive forest fires, a global pandemic and ever-growing tension between the left and the right. The news is everywhere we look, and it’s a constant reminder of everything bad that’s happening. Trust us, we get it, the news is our whole lives and sometimes it’s pretty depressing.

So it makes sense if our mental and physical health is suffering — and in conjunction, our schoolwork. It’s so easy to fall behind in school when stress is weighing you down.

To quote the Centers for Disease Control, “You may experience increased stress during this pandemic. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.”

Pretty on-the-nose we’d say.

So yeah, the world is overwhelming. But it’s important to remember it’s overwhelming for everyone. You aren’t alone. You can ask for help, whether it’s from counseling or asking for an extension on a deadline when you’re at a mental breaking point.

The Curry Health Center counseling is a great place to start. Right now they’re offering socially-distanced approved tele-counseling and Zoom counseling sessions. The first session of each semester is free and after that it’s $25 each time. They also have crisis counseling, which you can reach at 406-243-4712 during office hours, or at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) after hours.

Even if you don’t want to try counseling, there are other free services on campus to help with stress. The Wellness Center offers a COVID-19 specific virtual stress busting kit, as well as virtual health coaching and mindfulness meditations.

The point is, you don’t need to suffer alone or pretend like you’re fine. We’re not fine. And that’s okay. We’re all stressed as hell and just trying to do our best, and sometimes our best isn’t as good as it used to be. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with us. It means we’re people with emotions and fears and flaws who are going through an immense amount of change.

Just remember, we are all humans first and foremost. Give yourself some grace when you’re struggling and ask for help when you need it. Being a student should come after being a happy, healthy human.

If it means anything, we’re proud of you for making it this far, and if it weren’t for COVID we’d totally offer a hug.

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