Social distancing. Stay six feet apart. Wear your mask at all times. Must provide proof of vaccination. Mandatory distance learning. What do you mean the store is out of toilet paper? These are all phrases that wouldn't have made much sense a few years ago, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic they are all now part of our everyday vernacular. COVID-19 is a once-in-a-generation pandemic that has been difficult for people worldwide, but we know it has been especially difficult for you. As students you have had to maneuver through this brand-new experience in real-time, which has consisted of trial and error and constant adaptation. While the world tries to get back on its feet, that does not erase the time spent feeling isolated and fearful.
It is natural for the pandemic to have negatively impacted your mental health and make you feel unprepared for the future. That's why we've created this slam - a safe space for you to share all your thoughts about COVID-19, including but not limited to how it has affected you up to now and how it will affect your life moving forward. By adhering to rules like attending online-only classes and being prevented from seeing your friends in person, among others, you have been forced to forfeit a portion of your school experience, which is objectively a formative time in life. Whether you are moving through high school, college, or entering the workforce, you are carrying the toll of the pandemic with you. There is no rule book for how to deal with the emotional trauma of the pandemic, which is why we invite you to use this space. Your generation will forever be bonded as you share the common thread of learning how to navigate education during this period. While that could lead to camaraderie, it might also feel like no one outside your group truly understands, and that can be isolating in and of itself. Know that all thoughts and feelings are valid and welcome here. Don't be shy to share, you've got this.