Tips with Trish: I don’t get it

By Trishia Borelli (TheLorian)

Dear Trish,

Going home in March really sucked. And summer was extremely long. Like most students, I was thrilled to be back on campus this fall. Not only did I just miss Loras, I was excited to be back around people again. I was even okay with most of my classes being online. And although I get that it is super hard to be back in light of COVID; I’m getting really pissed at people who are being irresponsible and not taking the mask/social distancing thing seriously. How do people not understand that not following the rules just means that we are all at risk of having to go back home. I want to stay on campus. When I mention these concerns to my friends or complain about the actions of others, they dismiss my feelings and make jokes. They don’t seem to think twice about their behavior. What do I do about this? It is starting to affect my friendships.

Signed,

Following the Rules

Trish says,

There has definitely been a lot of talk about how people are handling the recommendations regarding COVID and being back on campus. You have a right to be angry and frustrated since you are doing what you can to “Crush the Curve.” I am also impressed that you are directly communicating your concerns to your friends because that is not easy to do. I have had a number of conversations with students on how to at least speak up. Asserting yourself in regards to this is very important. It is much like asserting yourself when you confront a wrongdoing, defend your faith in front of others, or be an active bystander when someone is in trouble. It takes guts.

Not only are some of your classmates putting others in a potentially dangerous situation, they are having an impact on the rest of our futures at Loras. I’ll admit, it has taken some time for me to wrap my mind around how my personal actions may affect others related to COVID. Sadly, the reality came for me this summer when my son became exposed which started the COVID chaos in my world. I remember feeling panicked thinking about those I was around, those I may have infected and those I knew would struggle particularly if I had gotten it from him and unknowingly, passed it on. We also missed a family vacation. I missed a needed medical procedure. My son missed the rest of his baseball season, and so on. I even spent my 50th birthday inside with my family of five as the remaining four of us waited for our personal COVID results. Not quite the way I had always planned spending this significant milestone. 

I’m only reviewing my personal experience because my getting COVID was pretty uneventful for most of the people in my immediate world. It still sucked though and was more inconvenient than anything. The hardest part was when my husband tested positive and because of his health issues, he was down and out for about two weeks. This was scary as well as financially challenging since he is self-employed. Again, I was a little anxious but ultimately we had it better than lots of folks. We kept our jobs, had health insurance, and had a roof over our head to shelter in place, etc.  The whole experience was relatively uneventful because the country was still pretty much in lock down mode. 

That all went down this past June. We are in a much different situation at this time. At Loras, like many but not all institutions of higher education, we are attempting to have some new semblance of normal. Those not taking it seriously are going to set us back. So in coming up with suggestions going forward, I would encourage you to continue trying to talk to your peers. If you can focus on the fact that you really want to stay on campus and would appreciate friends and classmates using their mask and social distancing, try to have the hard conversation. Be a role model and a leader and encourage your friends who feel the same way to post pictures on social media while following the rules. It can be done. Tell your friends that you want them to be supportive and that it is affecting your relationship with them when they don’t take it seriously.

For others of you who are looking to help the situation and stay on campus, be honest with your peers and be respectful of the rules. Whether you believe it is a big deal or not, it is our policy on campus to abide by the set guidelines. You can say things like, “I’m personally not worried about getting COVID but I want to be respectful of others that are.” Or, “Each day we follow the rules means another day we stay on campus.” If you have a health condition and are okay with mentioning it, consider doing so. It is okay for people to know that this is real and people need to take caution. In addition, keep coming up with ways to stay connected. I have been impressed with how some people have gotten creative on how to stay in touch. Think outside the box. This is all of our problem… be a part of the solution.   

Thanks for your honesty. Trish

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Written By :

Tricia Borelli is the Director of Counseling Services at Loras College. In Tips with Trish, she will answer student questions concerning anything that relates to keeping it together while doing this crazy thing called college. Send questions or comments to Ms. Borelli, Loras Box 100, or to the e-mail address tricia.borelli@loras.edu. All names of those sending questions will be kept confidential.

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