By Tabitha Barr / Editor in Chief
I found out the news of Hutchinson Community College’s halting face-to-face classes due to the coronavirus on Sunday with everyone else. I was spending time with someone I care about when the message was sent, and it bummed me out. But I pushed it off for the night and just searched for more information through news sites.
I didn’t fully feel the sadness of it all until Tuesday night.
Brad Hallier, The Collegian advisor, isn’t just a teacher. He’s someone who’s always there for his students, and has always been there for me. I would be lost as the Editor In Chief if Brad wasn’t leading me to success. He has pushed me further in a leadership role than I ever thought possible. Without him, I wouldn’t have had the courage to publish my suicide experience column.
Now, this big goof started a Twitter thread about how much he’s going to miss each person in the newspaper staff. Then he started a Twitter DM with all of the staff and proceeded to make the tears fall harder.
But it wasn’t just Brad making me emotional. All of the newspaper staff started to share how much they are going to miss each other. That we are a family and they can’t believe our time together this year is up.
I drove home that night and sat in my pickup truck reading through everyone’s messages. That’s when I broke down. I haven’t sobbed that hard since I put out my suicide article. This stupid virus is not only ruining my plans, but it’s ruining my time with my newspaper family. As Editor In Chief, these are my people; this is my family; I love these people more than ever.
I don’t want to leave them just yet. I’m an awkward individual, and I make a lot of stupid jokes, but I care about all of them. They’re not just staff members, they’re my friends, my family. I can’t believe there won’t be another Wednesday full of rowdy people that tease and love each other. I looked forward to it every week and it made the stress worth it.
It’s not fair. Coronavirus has screwed us all over and it keeps getting worse. The newspaper is a part of me. I spend a lot of time working on it, caring about it, writing for it, designing it, preparing it, and marketing it. It’s my baby. Now I’m finding out that I’m not able to have the experience of working with my staff on it like we used to, and being told that my last semester of being Editor In Chief is basically thrown away, is absolutely heart-wrenching.
I have put my heart and soul into The Hutchinson Collegian. I hurt. I’m in pain. I want my life back. I want my last year at Hutchinson Community College to be normal.
Ever since the world has been self-quarantining, I’ve felt nothing but emptiness. I feel nothing a lot of the time.
My mental health has been stradling good and bad for awhile now, but this has tipped it into the lower end. There are times in the day where I can’t move. I can’t even watch a YouTube video because I don’t have the effort to open my phone and pick a video. I just sit and stare at the ceiling because I feel nothing.
I’ve been trying to stay strong for my family, friends and for my newspaper family. But I’m running out of fake masks and tissues. I’m exhausted.
I know this will get better. That eventually things will go back to normal and I’ll be OK. But right now I can’t understand my mix of emotions. What I do know is that I’m hurting. I hate isolation when it’s not my choice, because my mental health is plummeting.
I know that the world will return to normal, but I don’t know if I ever will.
Tabitha Barr is a Nickerson sophomore studying Media Communications and Production. She is The Collegian’s Editor In Chief.