Written by Heidi Jones on April 20, 2021
I knew college would not be easy. It isn’t supposed to be easy. For a college freshman, college is a terrifying new experience where the work is even more difficult than homework you had back in high school. Despite this expectation, for me, college has been fantastic. I have loved my experience here at Kansas Wesleyan University. I am much happier now than I ever was in high school. It felt like my first semester flew by, filled with meeting new people, starting my career as a student football coach, andbeginning to condition and prepare for Kansas Wesleyan’s first flag football season. It was a great time, and I was honestly a little sad to go home for winter break. However, I knew the break was much needed, and I also knew I could be looking forward to returning to campus in January. After winter break and I was back on campus, I still had that same positive energy I had from last semester.
At this point, most of that energy is gone.
This semester has felt different from last semester. Maybe it has been the colder weather. Maybe I am secretly missing home more than I realize. Or maybe it is the fact I have been trying to juggle 17 credit hours, men’s football, and flag football. If I am honest, I have felt a little more overwhelmed this semester.
When speaking with other students and venting to my friends about the excessive amount of stress I have been experiencing lately, it seems like they have been feeling the same way. With everyone’s sports in full swing or even still continuing their season from last semester, everyone is extremely busy, and of course we all have homework to worry about on top of that. Some people have expressed to me that they feel like they are dragging, that they just feel so tired all the time, and they have a hard time staying motivated. The general consensus? People are feeling burnt out, and you really can’t blame them.
Typically, students and staff would have some sort of break during the semester: that beloved spring break. However, due to the coronavirus, universities across the country, including Kansas Wesleyan, decided it would be safer to cancel fall and spring breaks. The whole point behind canceling the breaks was to help cut down on the potential spread of Covid-19, either to avoid students from bringing it back to their families or to avoid bringing it back to campus. The idea made sense, but the toll of missing these breaks has been noticeable on students. Students have talked more about how fatigued and stressed they have recently been feeling. They have also spoken about a major lack of motivation. It is safe to say that the students at Kansas Wesleyan are in desperate need of a break.
What has the university done in order to help students out during this incredibly different and stressful year? During the fall semester, there were no breaks at all. This semester, however, the university implemented two “mental health days.” These mental health days meant that students had the day off from classes. These days also took place in the middle of the week in order to keep students from going home. While the concept of these days was good, many students were unimpressed. Some students still had to worry about homework on these days off, and many still had practices during the day. Most students and even some staff felt that these two random, middle-of-the-week days were not enough to give people the chance to really recharge.
There are some services available on campus to give students a chance to destress. There is Carly Tinkler, located in the student development office. Tinkler works with DVACK, the Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas. She gives students the opportunity to vent about anything going on in their lives. I personally have spoken with Carly, and it has helped me immensely. Another option is
Let’s Talk with Shelby Reep on Thursday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon. Reep is a psychologist, and Let’s Talk gives students about 30 minutes to talk with a licensed therapist about how they are feeling or what may be bothering them. Finally, there is Ellie the Wellness Dog. Ellie joined the Kansas Wesleyan staff earlier this semester. She is here on campus to help students combat homesickness and give students a chance to unwind with a cute puppy. So far, students have told me that Ellie has had a major, positive impact on campus.
There is roughly about five weeks left in this semester before people can pack up and head home. It has been an unusually tough year, but we are so, so close to finishing. To my fellow students, keep your heads up. Communicate with your professors if you have questions or feel that you are struggling. Practice selfcare. Take breaks, stay hydrated, and get a bite to eat. Check up with your friends. If you are struggling, remember that you have options here on campus that give you the opportunity to vent. We’re almost there. Keep pushing through, and I believe in you.