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Keeping up with the “New–Normal”

We are excitedly awaiting this upcoming fall and welcoming a full student body back to campus, as well as hosting fun and healthy in-person events! Although it may seem as though we are getting back to pre-pandemic life, cases are on the rise and the virus is still ever-changing. According to the Center of Disease Control, if you have been fully vaccinated, you can resume most normal life activities. Although, even if you are vaccinated, you still may be able to become infect with different variants or transmit them to others. It is wise and encouraged, vaccinated or not, to wear a mask when traveling, in restaurants and bars, and around people you may not know very well.. It is also important to remember that while you may be able to efficiently recuperate from this illness, you may also transmit the virus to more vulnerable members of the population that are not able to successfully recover.


A return to “normal,” does not mean it will come without stressors. Daily routines are going to change again and there will be a lot more social engagement. While some people are very excited about getting back to a new normal, it is important to recognize that this is not true for everyone. As we come back to campus, please be sure to practice empathy toward others. 

  • Not everyone is looking forward to being back on campus - The reasons for this could be vast and every person has a unique viewpoint. A person's reluctance to return to campus does not have to mean push-back as long as we can acknowledge their feelings and move forward in a productive and supportive manner. 

  • Many people are still uncomfortable in crowded spaces - Even if there are protocols in place, some people are still suffering from the anxiety associated with social gatherings due to the threat of COVID-19. It is important that you respect their fear and their space without judgement. 

  • Not everyone wants to get the vaccine - Whether someone chooses to be vaccinated or not is their choice. Please be mindful of others’ feelings and fears regarding the vaccine in order to maintain a peaceful working environment. 

  • Just because you feel a certain way doesn't mean everyone else feels the same - This is the basis for showing empathy. Just because you aren't fearful or anxious doesn't mean other people aren't feeling those things. Everyone's viewpoint is unique, and it is not up to you to be judgmental. Show kindness, support, and understanding to your peers and colleagues.  


Emotional well-being

It is natural to struggle with stress, anxiety, loss, grief, or depression related to the pandemic and all the change it has brought. Don't be afraid to reach out to University Counseling Services or another mental health provider if you are struggling. This is also a great time to utilize online support services offered through your church or other online therapeutic options.  A great online resource for OSU students is TAO. This service is free to OSU students and does not require an appointment with a counselor. There are several helpful videos students can access from this link. Also, be mindful of friends and family that may also be having a difficult time with the current situation and pass along these resources to them and offer them support as well.


Even for introverts, being less social than normal can be very challenging. During this time, make time to work on a special project, read a book for fun (not just your academic texts), catch up on your favorite shows, update your resume, work on research, or start a cool craft project. Remember that we are all coping with lots of change. It is natural to feel stressed, worried and maybe even depressed. Be support systems for each other and remember that while this is a very frustrating situation, it is temporary. 




During this unusual time, many of you may be experiencing feelings of grief. Feelings of grief include a profound sense of loss and/or longing for what used to be. It is also common to feel sad or upset in knowing that many things were not  experienced, or may not be the same. It is normal to feel this way considering many events we were looking forward to did not  place. We are grieving the loss of making memories with our friends, graduations, and many other experiences. Find out more about feelings of grief and loss.



Without a doubt, the COVID – 19 pandemic has caused a great deal of uncertainty in our lives. Not knowing how long the virus will be prevalent can lead to anxious thoughts that can feel overwhelming, as well as activate the fight or flight response in our bodies. In addition to dealing with concerns about the disease itself, many students are also feeling anxious about campus norms and vaccinations. . If you are feeling nervous, restless, tense, irritated, on edge for no apparent reason, and/or having difficulty concentrating, you might be showing signs of anxiety.  Please explore the following links for more information on COVID-19 Anxiety and Virtual Academic Anxiety.



In order to remain successful in your courses, consider creating a schedule to help you stay current in with your classes. Be certain you are attending your letures,, read your textbook assignments, and utilize the resources that are being offered to you by OSU. If you find yourself in need of something, contact the appropriate department. If you do not know who to contact, begin the process by contacting your academic advisor or a course instructor.


Alcohol and other substance use

With so much change and uncertainty, it may be very tempting for some to engage in excessive substance use and abuse. However, excessive alcohol and drug use significantly weakens the immune system. A strong immune system is imperative when fighting and achieving full recovery from illness. It has never been more imperative to discontinue or reduce the use of alcohol, marijuana, or vaping, as strong respiratory health is imperative in order to recover from COVID-19. Coping with change or stress by using alcohol or other substances is definitely not the answer. The Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center (ASAC) is available if you find yourself struggling. Find out more about alcohol and substance abuse.



Exercise and nutrition

Don’t be afraid to go outside and enjoy the beautiful sunshine and upcoming fallweather.The Colvin and Seretean Wellness Centers are up and running! However, if you are still looking for ways to exercise from the comfort of your own home, we have plenty of options for you. . To access at-home workouts provided by the Department of Wellness, please visit Group Fitness at Home or our Exercise Library.


Use some of your free time to experiment with new recipes. Follow along with one of our Easy Eats with Student Wellness recipes. Additional healthy recipe options are available at Shape Your Future OK. If you find yourself in need of assistance or unable to provide groceries for yourself or your family during this time, please visit Our Daily Bread.



If you are interested in learning more about the vaccine, the different vaccine options, or where to get it University Health Services is a great resource, as well as the CDC. Talk to trusted loved ones or your personal physician if you are concerned or anxious about getting the vaccine. Make the best decision for you. Show empathy for those who may have made a different decision than you. Find out more about University Health Services’ vaccination information.

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