‘This too shall pass’

First-year WSU students reflect on their mental health, classes, personal challenges during pandemic



“Mental health is important, but there’s not really a way around this right now,” said first-year microbiology major Sydney Cadwell.

ADALINE GRACE, Evergreen social media editor

A WSU student said the coronavirus pandemic caused everyone to miss out on key events in their lives, but it is an experience individuals will be able to relate to in the future.

“We’re a part of it, we have this shared trauma,” said first-year microbiology major Sydney Cadwell. “I think that’s something.”

Shared trauma

First-year neuroscience major Kianne Bell said she feels isolated in her grief, having to process her feelings in a continuous cycle.

“I feel trapped in it. I feel so boxed in with what’s going on,” she said. “Obviously, I hope there’s an end, and I’m sure there will be. But right now, I don’t feel like there will be.”

Bell said it was hard dealing with the pandemic. However, it was sometimes harder to deal with challenges that impacted her mental health, such as a family member passing away and her inability to attend the funeral.

“Life doesn’t stop when this happens, and people don’t stop dying and all this shit doesn’t go away,” she said. “It’s just there and it’s amplified and it’s so much worse.”


Conor Dobbin, first-year economic sciences major, said the difference between the beginning and end of 2020 were intense. With his senior year of high school crashing down, expectations were low.

“When we look back to the first semester of senior year, we were all doing fine. We got to enjoy ourselves,” he said. “And then the second half feels like we all got robbed.”

Every day feels like it is getting worse and worse. Dobbin said he felt like he had been robbed of prom and trapped by COVID-19 safety restrictions.

First-year zoology major Cayden Steele said even though many people thought the pandemic would be over by July 4, they were far from accurate.

Bell said one of the things that got her through the end of senior year in high school was a phrase from her old chemistry teacher — “This too shall pass.” There were a lot of times when her teacher’s words were the only thing that got her through anything.

Online learning, financial worries

Cadwell said students can attend classes without having to get ready, but that can lead to issues in motivation. It is less stressful when she does not have to worry about finding her way around campus to get to her classes.

“Mental health is important, but there’s not really a way around this right now,” she said.

Steele said being able to watch lectures repeatedly takes the stress off from note-taking.

Besides classes, financial worries and high-risk family members are among the worries of WSU students. Money is a big problem for Cadwell.

“I worry about my financial status every day,” she said. “Plus it’s hard to get a job nowadays because of COVID.”

Because online school has become the new normal, students should not have to worry about paying full tuition. It just leads to higher stress levels, Cadwell said.

Where to go from here

Bell said she relates the pandemic to the effects of 9/11. She predicts the world will be changing because of the pandemic, but sometimes “ignorance is bliss.”

“Talking about it is really hard, a lot harder than I expected it to be,” she said. “I prefer to pretend like nothing is wrong, and then I feel less guilty about the world.”

Cadwell said she sometimes likes to pretend the pandemic is not happening so she can feel like she is living her own life again.

Split sides

At the end of the day, students are split between whether they accept where the pandemic took them or if they could start all over if they had the chance.

Dobbin and Bell said if they had the opportunity to go back to the time before the pandemic, they would live their lives out normally. They said they felt separated from their friends and would have preferred to be there for them through the end of senior year in high school.

Steele and Cadwell said they would not go back because of the connections they were able to make during quarantine. The pandemic allowed them to grow into the people they are now.

“I’ll take what I have and make the best of it,” Steele said.