Students readjust to life after isolation

Jared Galanti, Staff Reporter

When spring break came around last year, very few people could have predicted that many around the country would be forced to be stuck in their homes for months with no one to hang out with except for the people in their homes. Now with restrictions slowly being lifted and people now being able to hang with groups up to 10 people in Kittitas County, students are slowly but surely making adjustments to how they interact with people outside of their house.

Ryan Summers, a junior and ITAM major, said he doesn’t feel anxious when he is around other people now that restrictions are slowly being lifted.

“I don’t feel anxious,” Summers said. ”I try and follow the health guidelines, which to me makes me feel fairly safe.” 

Summers said one of the things he does to make him feel less anxious while in public is that he always wears one of his three masks. When he comes to campus he always does the health safety check that is available on Canvas and sanitizes his hands at least two times while he is in a building: once when entering the building and once when exiting. 

Amanda Volz, a junior business major, said she hasn’t been hanging out with groups now because the people she would hang out with get nervous. 

“Other people are nervous about getting it,  Volz said. “So it makes me nervous being around other people who are nervous.”

Dr. Cindy Bruns, the director of counseling, said anxiety has been trending upward for the past six or seven years and that the virus has given students an extra layer of things to worry about. 

“It used to be that depression was our number one presenting concern, but now anxiety is the thing that we see students coming in with the most,” Bruns said.

Bruns said now with COVID-19, students are experiencing anxiety not just for their health and safety, but for friends and family members as well. She said students have to negotiate a whole new set of health behaviors such as wearing a mask and keeping socially distant while still trying to make close relationships with people. 

Bruns said counseling centers are seeing lots of students with different concerns who need help coping through an unprecedented time. She also said everyone is in some way, shape or form impacted by COVID-19, and now is a great time for everyone to be more mindful of how people are feeling.

“If you haven’t heard from people in a while, maybe just a text, ‘hey how’s it going?’ or ‘hey let’s Facetime or a phone call’ or just be more persistent than we normally would,” Bruns said.

Bruns said CWU is offering a wide variety of ways for people to be able to connect with each other both virtually and in person. Some ways include joining a club, joining support groups at the counseling center and attending the Diversity and Equality Center’s event titled “Find Your People,” which is a series that helps people connect and have a dialogue with people of shared experiences. The next event will be a virtual event on Oct. 13 starting at 3:30 p.m.