We’ve been more than just college students this semester: we’ve been protesters, advocates, politicians and community leaders. Even though the work is never done to keep raising awareness, there is a time where we just need to be regular college students. This semester I can say that a lot of us have been so caught up in what’s going on in the world that it’s hard to concentrate or remember what it’s like to be a normal college student. Some may have had assignments due during the election, or couldn’t focus in class because of the chaos 2020 has brought in general. Most of us probably haven’t felt like our normal selves in a while now. This is a reminder to know you’re not alone. This is one of the most unforgettable semesters, or even years.
So, it might not be easy to just be a student, but I encourage everyone to take a break from both the world and school during this fall break. Maybe that means deleting Twitter or Instagram, turning off notifications from news outlets for a couple of days, binge-watching that show or sleeping past 10. As important as it is to be an activist, or the vice president, student, et cetera, you can only give out as much as you put into yourself. Remember the phrase, “You can’t pour from an empty pot.”
There is no real definition of self-care or what it looks like. There are no rules or instructions; it’s when you are in your most calm and relaxed state of mind. That could be anything as big as doing a whole spa day or as little as cleaning your room.
A lot of times, especially at predominantly white institutions, the responsibility of speaking up and being an advocate falls on the students. While that can be rewarding at times, without mental awareness we lose a sense of ourselves and don’t get to be regular college students anymore. Or, we have that inner struggle where you have finals and projects due during a pandemic, and we lose a sense of control.
Professors, social media and the news aren’t going to tell you this, but this is just a reminder that it’s okay to take some time to take care of yourself.
“It’s important to be kind to ourselves,” as Michelle Obama said. “The truth is, being healthy isn’t about getting on a scale or measuring your waistline and we can’t afford to think that way. Instead, we need to start focusing on what matters on how we feel and how we feel about ourselves.”
Najah Hendricks is a fourth-year Social Work major with a minor in Youth Empowerment & Urban Studies. NH871270@wcupa.edu