Staying on the bright side of news

Photo courtesy of Natalie Boutwell, Student Publications

As we move further into our fall semester, it is easy to slip back into our usual campus habits: hanging out with roommates, getting involved in student organizations and occasionally procrastinating on homework. But, as we all know, life at Tech is hardly the same as usual.

Many students I have recently talked to complain about technology challenges in their online classes or the inconvenience of fewer bus routes and closed dining options. Some are even pessimistic about the rest of the semester, dreading an end like the spring. Like our on-campus routines, our collective Tech mindset of expecting the worst is also easy to slip back into.

Some of this negativity makes sense. We are bombarded with bleak updates and news stories every day. It is easy — natural, in fact — to obsess over these troubling reports, thinking about them constantly until we feel utterly let down by the state of the world. However, speaking from experience, we should all try to avoid this unhealthy habit.

This past summer, I became a self-proclaimed “doomscroller.” I have always been an avid news reader, eager to stay up to date on the latest current events. However, as the world was settling into the pandemic, I felt compelled to know everything at all hours of the day. I would read the news by scrolling on my phone whenever I woke up, while I ate lunch or even before I went to bed.I read about the number of COVID-19 cases rising, the state shutdowns, the state re-openings and the cases rising all over again.

Eventually, it all became too much. I then decided to cut my news consumption to only a half an hour in the morning and in the afternoon. My stress drastically reduced as a result, and I finally felt like I could enjoy my summer at home with my family.

As news editor, I will be the first to say that it is important to keep up with the news to stay informed about what is going on around you. However, it is equally important (and perhaps, even more important) to not become too overwhelmed by it.Many times, readers, like you and I, have little control over the events that are reported. So, it is pointless to worry endlessly about them. And it is even more pointless to “doomscroll” hours upon hours.

If you ever start to feel overwhelmed by all the negative news, try focusing on two things instead: the positive stories and your own actions. Positive events don’t often get as much attention as the dramatic, doomsday-type ones, but they are often just as numerous.

Also, if you are concerned about a certain news development, try to do something about it! If you’re worried about the spread of COVID-19 on campus, for example, get tested, encourage others to get tested, properly wear a mask outside of your dorm and encourage others to do as well.

We are living in a historic moment. This semester, as it unfolds, will forever be remembered as one of the most unique chapters in Tech’s story.

Despite any challenges we will face, it is up to us, as students, to make the most of it and enjoy our time on campus — while, of course, still working to protect the safety of those around us.