Getting through the final weeks of this semester: our strange, new normal

Getty Images photo by wundervisuals.

Getty Images

Getty Images photo by wundervisuals.

Rayanne Painter

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Welcome to “dead week,” you’ve finally made it. This semester has felt like it’s gone on for far longer than usual.

Unless this is your first semester of college, you’ve probably been through a few of these final weeks of the semester. It’s a struggle for most people: project deadlines are quickly approaching, essays or lab reports are due nearly every day of the week and the first finals are only days away. It’s a lot to handle, especially with what our community has been recently going through.

Since returning to the normalcy of classes and campus operations, nothing quite feels the same in the aftermath of the Camp Fire. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be directly affected by the devastation while trying to finish out the semester. Hundreds of the students and faculty here can’t go home at the end of the day. Most have lost possessions or property, jobs and possibly loved ones. And for those of us who weren’t directly affected by the blaze, watching our community struggle is off-putting, to say the least.

Everything is different, yet we must go on. I’ve spoken to some of my professors about this, and they all have witnessed the same phenomenon of the oddity of these past few weeks. They know they owe us information – we paid for it and need it to be successful – but they feel that students aren’t absorbing new information that’s being given to them.

I can’t say I’m surprised by this. As a student who is unaffected by the fire, sitting through lectures has been frustrating. My peers and I are less active in discussion and there have been multiple classes where our time was ended short because we were not interacting with the material being presented. It’s not that we don’t care, but it’s almost like we’ve lost focus in the midst of all this tragedy.

I’m no expert in the response of communities after devastation, and perhaps there is a reason for this imbalance that I’m sure we’re all experiencing at some level. It’s okay to feel off during this month and the months to come. Thankfully, there are only a couple weeks left of the semester and I do hope that this upcoming break can be enough time for all of us to recharge.

Do what feels right to you, in order to get through to the end of finals week. If you are struggling because of effects from the fire, or really anything that’s setting you back, communicate with your professors. You might find that most will be extremely accommodating in these times, no matter your specific situation.

Be a helping hand or a listening ear to your colleagues, co-workers and friends, but also reserve some time to take care of your needs. We are all in this together, after all.

Rayanne Painter can be reached at [email protected] or @rayphenomenon on Twitter.

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