Collective Trauma Needs to be Treated with Kindness, Not Animosity

We need to come together as a Furman student body, and the way to do that is to exude abundant kindness.

If one thing is clear about this semester, it is this: "People are not okay, and we need to support one another more than ever before." Unsplash

We are in the middle of a pandemic. This is not news for any of us. It is stressful, anxiety-inducing and incredibly difficult. Change is as abundant as cancelled events, and for my fellow Type-A individuals, that means we are living our worst nightmares.

A good friend of mine explains this season as a “collective trauma,” meaning that we, as a society, are all currently experiencing trauma in our own unique forms. By definition, trauma is “the response to a deeply distressing event(s) that overwhelms an individual's ability to cope, causes feelings of helplessness, diminishes their sense of self and [diminishes] their ability to feel the full range of emotions and experiences.”  

Between COVID-19, the prevalence of racial injustices in America, personal struggles with mental health and the increasing political polarization in our country, trauma is at an all-time high. People are not okay. In a time where intentional community is medicine to aid the coping process, why is our Furman community default response to others’ trauma animosity?  

It has become apparent that there is a divide between students. Maybe this is due to differences in inconsistent reporting culture, anonymous Instagram call-outs, or simply hateful conversations about other students. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter. Furman students: we can do better. People are not okay, and we need to support one another more than ever before.

Stop pinning people against each other, drop the judgement and refrain from anonymously calling others out on social media. Instead, start looking out for one another. Check up on your friends or classmates, because if they’re anything like me, they’re overwhelmed and exhausted. Let others know that they are not alone in this experience. We need to come together as a Furman student body, and the way to do that is to exude abundant kindness.

Of course, our main concern is to stay safe. Have conversations with one another and continue to hold each other accountable. But, do so in a way that acknowledges the fact that whoever broke the rules may be struggling. We all want to stay at Furman this semester, and in order to do that, we must be both physically and mentally healthy.

I believe in Furman, and I believe in our student community. However, right now I am disappointed in our student body’s noticed lack of compassion towards one another. I know we can do better. Let’s learn together and watch how compassion and kindness can seed the growth of a brighter, better community experience for us all.

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