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WRITE TEAM: College students: This is your chance to truly grow up

Dear College Student,

Congratulations on beginning this exciting adventure!

If you are among the many on-campus students who are following COVID-19 protocol, you may skip to the closing because the body of this letter is not for you.

If you are a student who is taking unnecessary health risks, keep reading.

The world is a different place than it was a year ago when you applied to college. And your educational experience may not be what you had hoped and expected.

But you are still able to become educated; to grow and find your place. And isn’t that the reason you are there?

Yes, social interactions are important to you. Meeting new people and experiencing different situations is part of being on your own. We understand that.

But this worldwide health crisis has changed life for everyone, including you.

COVID-19 cases among young adults have skyrocketed, mostly due to large gatherings and parties at universities.

This is not a joke. You are an adult who has to make responsible decisions.

The morons who throw parties, even knowing they have tested positive, put more than the attendees at risk. Going to parties puts your family, friends, co-workers, and teachers at risk. You could spread the disease before you even know you have it.

No one wants to get sick. The health care system has limited hospital beds, supplies, and workers.

So stop whining that your college experience is ruined. It isn’t ruined, it’s barely begun.

Perhaps you’d like to trade places with the 90 year-old in the nursing home who hasn’t seen his family in four months and is restricted to his room? Or maybe you’d rather be an essential worker who struggles daily with rude customers who refuse to wear masks? How about parents who are working from home while doing e-learning with their children? Or those with limited daycare options?

Everyone has been impacted. Weddings, retirements, funerals and church services are all scaled back. Businesses and restaurants are struggling to stay afloat. Job loss leads to worry about paying bills. Teachers, like many professions, are figuring out how to do their jobs in a new way.

There have been over 31 million cases worldwide, with 961,000 deaths. This should scare you. Someone you know will get sick. And the long-term effects are still relatively unknown.

When you were a child, grownups kept you safe. You were taught to look both ways before crossing the street. You learned about nutritious foods, not to stick your finger in an electric socket, and how to drive a car.

You are no longer a child and are very capable of making better choices. Do it for your parents and grandparents. They still worry about you and would do anything to save you. Help save them.

So please, practice social distancing. Wear a clean mask. Do not attend or host large parties. Be honest about contact tracing if you are asked. Your rights are not being lost; they are being protected.

We know this is not easy, but we also know that you are resourceful enough to get through it.

This is your chance to truly grow up. Being compassionate and unselfish could be the most important and mature lesson you learn this year.

Make us proud.


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