“How are you?” is a common, courteous question everyone is familiar with. We hear it from peers, teachers, neighbors, administrators, strangers, friends and family. Typical responses include, “I’m doing well,” “I’m fine, thank you,” or something of the sort.
But in reality, “well” and “fine” are not accurate depictions of how most people are feeling at the moment. We are all feeling the effects of a hybrid-learning platform and limited social interaction, whether we would like to admit it or not.
Why is it so difficult to be honest with people? Sadness is spreading like a wildfire through the Wildcat Nation. Separated between computer screens and phone calls, friends and families have undergone isolation long enough. Quarantine letters are taking the campus by storm. And people are tired of missing seemingly mundane activities, such as eating with friends, having meetings in person and teaching in a full classroom. But this is the reality we are living in.
So what is the solution to this stream of sadness? It’s simple: We need to be honest with each other. If someone asks, “How are you?” and you aren’t doing well, then say so. We need to have difficult conversations with our friends, families and teachers. Especially for those confined to their households, we need to be aware of how others are handling this “new normal.” A sense of togetherness is what the Wildcat Nation needs. You aren’t being a burden by telling someone how you’re truly feeling – you’re helping yourself to heal. But we can’t accomplish that if we don’t build bridges instead of maintaining barriers. It’s a two-step process: Be honest with yourself, then be honest with others. You won’t regret it if you do. You might be surprised by the outcome.