Illustration by Alyssa Maziarz
This is a special letter dedicated to my fellow friends, former classmates, peers and other students on campus who identify as “extroverts.” Besides working on academic assignments, we extroverts love to use our free time to spend as much time with others as possible. We utilize every second of our time that isn’t already occupied to reach out to friends and family and connect with others. Such social butterflies, aren’t we?
For many of us, the new readjustment to our lifestyles can be very upsetting. With more free time on our hands, our first instinct is to reconnect with others we enjoy spending time with. In light of our current situation, however, this is almost impossible to do. By staying safe and participating in social distancing, it can be difficult for us extroverts to readjust to being alone for the vast majority of our spare time. For many, this is not only a disturbance to our normal social lives, but can be a disturbance to our emotional health as well. Although it is imperative to stay safe and protect ourselves using social distancing, I have a few tips from my dear professors and others that extroverts, such as you and I, can use to cope with the pandemic.
One of my favorite professors in the College of Communication and Information is Aaron Bacue, who I consult often and love talking to. I absolutely adore Professor Bacue for not only his teaching style, but his passion for his students as well. Professor Bacue truly cares about his students and reaches out to ask about our own well-being often. At the beginning of the transition to remote instruction, Professor Bacue urged each one of his students to contact him and tell him about our opinions, experiences and thoughts about the transition. Acts like this prove he is an individual who not only has a passion for his career, but cares about the well-being of his students as well.
Humans, by nature, are extremely social creatures who thrive on interpersonal communication. Knowing this, Professor Bacue suggested to each of his students that we try our best to maintain our normal social lives throughout these new and confusing times, for the sake of both our mental and emotional health. FaceTime and talking over the phone are, without a doubt, some of the easiest ways of remaining connected with others. As for normal routines, such as eating lunch with your friends, Professor Bacue suggests calling your friends and eating lunch together over the phone. This might sound silly, but I tried this first-hand and it was fun for both my friends and I to “eat lunch together.” One of the key tips Professor Bacue shared, however, emphasized discussing matters other than the pandemic. After all, we are bombarded by this information constantly throughout our days. Make conversation fun!
Lastly, I want to leave my fellow extroverts with one last positive thought. Although social distancing makes socializing extremely difficult, we can all use this time to reflect on ourselves. Many of us avoid spending time alone in our normal routines. With the events that are occuring now, however, we have the opportunity to positively reconnect with ourselves as people. Discovering new hobbies, reconnecting with old passions, and reflecting on ourselves are healthy ways we can restore connections with ourselves and understand our own personalities on a deeper level. With this in mind, let’s use this time positively and continue our normal lives as best as we can.
Until next time,
Lillianna DiFini is a first-year student at Kent State University studying communication studies with a concentration in relational and workplace communication. This semester, she is a blogger for The Burr Magazine and plans to focus much of her content on ways students can better adapt to college. After earning her bachelor’s degree, Lillianna plans to continue her education and earn her master’s degree in education to one day pursue a career in academic advising.