Five weeks after the start of the semester, mid-semesters are fast approaching. The feeling of having just started is mixed with the feeling that we’ve been here forever, and burnout is drawing closer again. We are all exhausted already.

This academic year marks four semesters since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we have had to persevere in the worst of the pandemic, going through online classes and a lack of social life, we have also grown as people and built our resilience to incredible levels.

Now, after a year and a half of abrupt, constant change, things seem a little more normal, a little more cohesive. More and more students are able to attend face-to-face classes, invite people to their dorms, and participate in college activities, all of which did not exist.

Outside, many walk Sixth Street with their faces naked, enjoying the cool air as summer recedes and masks are only required in buildings. The campus looks very similar.

At Palousafest 2021, participation was much higher than two years ago. The event was filled with students eager to restart the semester and hopeful for the pre-pandemic college experience. The students got more fun and things started to look more normal.

Students are spending more time outdoors than before, enjoying the in-person experience from the start of class. But over the past year and a half, the nation has grown accustomed to quarantine, social distancing and Zoom University.

This transition from everything that is done remotely to in-person presence can be a big culture shock, and many people can struggle to adjust. It’s like moving from a small town to a big city, where suddenly someone is surrounded by people from all angles.

The world has been turned off for a while and as things start to work their way, this can be a big change that not even Gen Z perseverance can be 100% ready for.

The transition to person can be overwhelming for all of our mental health. The way we take notes, do homework and operate on a daily basis has changed. Being surrounded by blankets and walking away from our fridge is no longer an option. We need to start managing our time differently. Again.

The future may still seem uncertain, and as things continue to change during this pandemic, we don’t know what will happen next. As we always have, we must find the motivation to move forward and keep going.

How we take care of ourselves is more important than ever, including personal care, mastery of homework, and organization. The way we take notes and organize our thoughts can make a big difference.

All of this is easier said than done.

Feeling stressed and overwhelmed is all right, and there are ways to deal with these anxieties. When you feel upset, try to focus on your breathing and slow down. In your free time, no matter how little you have, indulge in hobbies and activities that provide serotonin. Try yoga or exercise, make time to hang out with your friends, and try journaling.

For those who struggle, the Counseling and testing center has many resources available to students, faculty, and staff to help relieve and manage stress. These include mindfulness walk-in sessions, free counseling and several self-help online resources. The CTC can be reached at (208) 885-6716.

As Suicide Awareness Month approaches, now is not just a time to focus on mental health “bad” enough for someone to have thoughts of suicide. This is the time for everyone to check in with themselves, their friends, their sanity and serves as a reminder to put themselves first.

If you’re worried about yourself or a friend, contact a loved one, the CTC, or the National Suicide Hotline, which you can reach at 1-800-273-8255.

As things start to pick up on the halfway point, remember to take the time to relax and take care of yourself. We have been through enormous changes and unprecedented times. The transition can be a huge stressor and burnout is a reality. School is important, but so is your sanity.

-Editorial committee