At the beginning of this pandemic, I strongly doubt that anyone thought it would be a persistent figure in our lives almost a year later. In some ways, the pandemic is almost harder to deal with now than it ever was before. Last spring, our expectations were clear: stay home, quarantine, and socialize virtually. Now, however, we have been stuck in this weird limbo where some of our friends have seemingly returned to normal social interaction, while others heed proper caution and stick with the same people. COVID has found a way to interfere with every decision and makes simply spending time with another person anxiety-inducing: could they have COVID? Where have they been recently? Is it weird if I keep my mask on?

Human beings are social animals, and while this pandemic has definitely made us more creative about how we see others, the lack of normal interaction has also taken a toll on our mental health. We are approaching a year since the pandemic hit, and normal life has never felt more distant. It has certainly been hard to form new relationships and grow pre-existing ones. 

If the pandemic has left you feeling lonely and at a loss of fun and socially distant activities, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Look out for a Thursday email highlighting weekend events from the Campus Activities Team (CAT). This Villanova club has been great at providing things to do that are COVID-safe and fun. Take advantage of their Villanova Basketball game watching supplies, and support the ‘Cats. And as always, patiently await the return of Food Truck Fridays. 

It is so important to make sure your mental health is a top priority. It is easy to let different pressures (daily and societal) interfere with putting yourself first and forgetting to practice self-care. We are so used to having the classic phrase, “your college years are the best years of your life,” thrown at us. Yet, none of the people giving us this awesome sentiment have gone to college in a pandemic. If you don’t feel like you’re living out your dream college experience, it’s okay—we are quite literally living through “unprecedented” times. Right now, anything goes as long as it puts your physical and mental health first, even if that means having a chill night… every night. 

Despite mostly operating virtually, clubs are still a great way to safely meet people that have shared interests. “Join a club” is the most cliché piece of advice out there but is a great way to participate in something productive while also meeting new people and giving an opportunity for new friendships to form. And if you decide a club isn’t working out for you, then you’ve only lost an hour of your time, and at least you tried. Also, rush the Villanovan! 

When the pandemic is over (funny, I know), Generation Z will prevail and make up for our lost time. However, until then, reach out to friends and do your best to combat zoom fatigue. Simply practicing good communication, taking that risk to ask someone to get lunch, or expressing how you feel to your friends could make all the difference. And please, never hesitate to reach out for help; if loneliness is severely interrupting your daily life, consider booking a free appointment at the University Counseling Center (610-519-4050).