This school year is already one for the books, two weeks into the semester, classes are already switched to online delivery. And with classes taking a lot of time and energy, NC State isn’t really helping with their daily ‘updates’ of when positive cases are found on and off campus. This forces us to readjust the plans we had for the school year. 

Now this can take a toll on the average student: On the computer screen all periods of the day, up all night working on papers, organizing clubs meeting via zoom, still trying to keep up with your social life. Let’s not forget about how seniors are applying for jobs and studying for their  intro exams into graduate schools — all while trying to enjoy what’s left of their undergraduate career. In the midst of it all, slowly packing some things up because we are now required to move out of the residence halls.

So where does this leave your inner peace? Mental health?; an aspect of your life that needs to be intact in order to keep your head above water, clear your mind to make rational decisions and most importantly in this case, help you juggle all of your priorities. 

It is important to protect that inner strength you carry inside — especially as students of color. 

Here are some things that you can do to help protect your peace or help you find it this semester: 

  1. Be aware: Take control of the negative thoughts that encompass your mind and your reaction to them. Be aware of your surroundings; be around people and things that will uplift you in those dark times. Have a positive mindset; what you think is who you are. 
  2. Exercise: Go for a walk or run a couple times a week. Not only are you receiving vitamin D from the sun, but you are also producing endorphins which can increase your well-being. 
  3. Get involved on campus: Joining organizations will introduce you to people that most likely share the same interests as you and can create a good distraction from the realities of life. 
  4. SLEEP: With everything that is required of us socially and academically, it is essential that we refresh ourselves with a good night’s sleep daily.  
  5. Set time away from the screen: Too much screen time is proven to shorten attention span and memory. So set aside time to do things you haven’t done in a while, things that bring you peace, like reading self-help books, writing, painting etc. Get to know yourself on a deeper level.

Just to remind you, it is OKAY to be selfish: When it comes to protecting your peace, it is necessary to put your needs and feelings first. That may look like stepping back from relationships, speaking your mind about a matter, canceling commitments or just taking a personal day. Nobody is perfect, everyone needs time to themselves and it is okay if people don’t understand, they don’t need to. When you start to do things that bring you happiness, you will attract the right kinds of people.  

As we continue to give energy to our studies and other life activities, let us also remember to pour that energy back into ourselves. 

Find that peace within and never let it go, no matter the cost.