Jamison Guice, Campus Carrier features editor
Jana Morning, Campus Carrier asst. features editor
Stress resilience is the ability to adapt to trauma or tragedy, and assistant director of counseling Terri Cordle mentions that the ability to maintain stress resilience during the pandemic helps boost energy levels. A disrupted schedule causes people to become stressed and overwhelmed with daily tasks. Cordle said that some things to focus on include building a new routine, eating nutritious foods regularly, sleeping and exercising.
“This is a really stressful time and stress just kind of takes away from our energy levels,” Cordle said. “We need to make sure we’re replenishing it where we can so we can better roll with the stress of life and the stress of COVID.”
One stressor may simply be wanting the things you cannot have. If hanging out with friends before the pandemic was of personal importance, then that lost connection can manifest into unhappiness or stress. Cordle said that due to the many social limitations people are under, it is nice to recognize things of personal importance so they will not be taken for granted in the future.
“I don’t know if grateful is the right word, but we are more aware of the things that we take probably take for granted, like being able to go out and eat with our friends and sit next to our friends and be in large groups,” Cordle said. “I guess that’s one positive thing to recognize, the things that really are meaningful to us.”
Cordle recommends reaching out to friends if unable to find anything positive. She said it is normal to have difficulty finding the up-side during a pandemic, so do not be afraid to reach out to others and hear their ideas. Other connections available include on-campus counseling services which provide virtual care if unable to meet in person. Cordle said that before the pandemic, virtual counseling or teletherapy was either unavailable or too unusual for people to be comfortable with it.
If seeking help or just wanting someone to talk to, students can make an appointment at the Counseling Center by calling (706) 236-2259.
Zachary Taylor, associate professor of environmental science, believes the pandemic has had some positive effects on our environment, regardless of how big or small those positives might be.
Taylor said that following initial lockdowns in March, carbon dioxide emissions went down somewhere between four and seven percent for this year due to things like less vehicle emissions since travel was restricted.
“It’s not nothing, but it’s not a lot either,” Taylor said.
Taylor believes pandemics are inevitable but, if the world as a society comes together and thinks of ways to better interact with the natural world around us, we could make pandemics less frequent.
“People are encroaching on the habitats of these animals,” Taylor said. “There’s really nowhere left for wild things to live. The more people interact with wildlife, the more likely you’ll have something like this jump from the natural world to the human world.”
Taylor hopes people will learn from the pandemic to have a better understanding of wildlife, and the importance of conserving biodiversity and preserving different parts of the planet.
Taylor mentions an article published by the World Economic Forum that claims the global cost to prevent COVID-19 is $22 to $31 billion, which includes funding for monitoring wildlife trade and reducing deforestation. He believes it would be money well spent considering it would reduce the chances of another pandemic, amongst other factors.
“The world would have to come together and prioritize that,” Taylor said. “Maybe people will finally realize how fragile and disruptive some of these things we do are.”
News reports clog headlines with death rates and death tolls when reporting about the virus that causes COVID-19 and, while that is important information to spread amongst the public, it is also important to show the other side of the coin and report positive growth. Before the pandemic, most people did not pay attention to how viruses or bacteria spread. Melanie Merrin, assistant director of health services and a registered nurse, said people are now more likely to understand how they get sick.
“So, using for the flu just because we’re aware of it for the first time in this country, we’re wearing masks and, to some extent, socially distancing,” Merrin said. “And that can have a positive effect on the number of cases. And, you know, people do get very sick and die with the flu every year in this country. So, that could be one positive that comes out of the mask-wearing which is certainly unpleasant, and no one wants to do it.”
With this knowledge, Merrin said there is hope that the flu season will not be as bad as previous years. She said the reason why many health centers are bracing for the worst this winter is because the flu and the virus that causes COVID-19 present similar symptoms. So, it can be hard to diagnose someone without doing the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and rapid antigen tests.
Wearing face masks, washing hands and using hand sanitizer are ways people have targeted illness prevention during the pandemic, and Merrin said continuing good personal hygiene will hopefully prevent unwanted illnesses. This includes staying home or indoors when presenting signs of illness.
“Sometimes there is a stigma about ‘I can’t miss class’, ‘I have this deadline,’ ‘I can’t miss work,’ and so people feel pressured, I don’t know if it’s self-pressure or if it’s pressure from their employer or their professor to go to class even when they know that they’re not well,” Merrin said. “Some people just personally may tend to write symptoms off as allergies or whatever. But it’s really important to not expose people if you know that you’re having symptoms of illness.”
With the further development of human technology, specifically cars, much of Earth’s wildlife has been negatively impacted. Although, since the COVID-19 outbreak, animals that are usually less likely to come out when humans are around, like coyotes, have ventured out a little more and more.
Professor of Biology Chris Mowry said that traffic is probably the number one cause of wildlife mortality. Both inside and outside the Berry community, less traffic and vehicles on the road means less roadkill.
“This pandemic has likely been traced to human use of wildlife,” Mowry said. “There’s still some debate about exactly what happened, but we know that diseases jump from wildlife to humans.”
However, the illegal buying and selling of wild animals that occurs across the globe is more important than highlighting the positives that have come out of the pandemic. According to Mowry, banning exotic wildlife trade or consumption of wildlife is more important.
“Unfortunately, many people around the world depend on it,” Mowry said. “It underscores the need for proper nutrition in poor countries, but getting it from wild animals is not the answer. It’s causing problems and we’re picking up diseases from these animals.”
It is essential to remember the importance of respecting wildlife habitats and to be mindful of their environment as well as our own. Keep in mind that although Berry’s campus is considered our home, it is also home to Berry’s own wildlife.