UMKC students share advice with peers

Photo: Students recommend building an emotional support system and seeking outside help when dealing with school and pandemic-related anxieties. (UMKC)

Joeli Toscano

As the semester nears to a close, some UMKC students have shared advice and words of encouragement to fellow students during a year that has shaken the established norms of college life..

Caitlyn Quirk, a UMKC English major, said students should reach out for help and not feel ashamed if they need a little support.

“Whether it be the UMKC Counseling Department, Health and Wellness Center, professors, family, friends, etc,” Quirk said, “having a strong support system is key to getting through this crazy year.”

Rye Ledford, a mathematics and statistics major, advised students to try something new every day that they may not have considered trying before.

“Paint along with Bob Ross. Cook something new. Go to a park you’ve never gone to before. Listen to a new podcast, or get take-out from a restaurant you’ve never eaten at. Above all, be kind to yourself,” Ledford said.

Nathan Meshau, a UMKC English major, gave some practical advice for students to follow daily.

“I really think it all circles back to ensuring productivity, and the easiest way to do that and stay on task is to remove your phone from the equation. Literally put it in the other room for an hour,” Meshau said. “Getting up at a decent time and maintaining some semblance of a schedule is also incredibly helpful, I’ve found.”

Sarah McDonald, a UMKC pre-nursing major, told students to take it slow, ask for help and know that you are not the only one struggling this year.

“My advice would be to take it moment-to-moment. Recognize that you are going through a time that’s like nothing anyone has been through,” McDonald said. “There are students all over the campus who are in the same place as you emotionally. You are not alone. Do not be afraid to ask for help, whether it is help in your classes or help with mental health. Be kind to yourself.”

Lauren Textor, an English major at UMKC, said that this year may be uncomfortable, but students can use it as a time for growth and self-discovery.

“I would tell students, especially freshmen or transfer students, it’s OK to feel anxious or out of place right now,” Textor said. “Nothing about this year has been normal, and it isn’t fair that they’ve had to deal with coronavirus as part of their introduction to UMKC. But if nothing else, this is a great opportunity for character development. We don’t have control over the virus or the rest of the world, but we can control how we react to it and how we use this time.”

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