Personal accountability, being an active member to the workforce and taking precautions towards yourself and others are three pieces of advice that Kristina Benkeser, the director of Student Health Services and Health and Wellness, offered towards graduate students, interns and current students.

The Student Health Center on campus is still open 24/7, however they have implemented two important changes to their daily schedule. TeleHealth is a new service that allows students to receive care and appointments that do not need to be taken care of in person. The Health Center also asks that students call ahead for an appointment.

“We’ve had an interesting summer trying to get students all the services that they need in a timely manner, while taking COVID precautions when we can,” Benkeser said.

For those students who have graduated and moved onto jobs, Benkeser understands that it can be scary learning a new routine while thinking about COVID safety. To stay on top of precautions, Benkeser advises to abide by company policies, always wash your mask and your hands, and constantly wipe down high contact areas.

“If you weren’t the one to clean it, assume it’s not clean,” Benkeser said.

The same advice goes for students that are currently on campus.

Benkeser said that now may be a good time to pursue graduate school while preparing for the job market to open, but also advises to take the time to hone in on a resume, practice interviewing, and utilize career services which is still available upon graduating.

“Hang in there and keep at it,” Benkeser said. “In uncertain times, companies, businesses and institutions retract a bit, and that’s normal when confronted with something unknown or new.”

Not only does Benkeser advise students to be safe and take advantage of the Health Center, but she also wants to remind students that student support and the counseling center are available.

“There is a lot of uncertainty and even highly resilient people’s resiliency is shot,” Benkeser said. “We are ready for this to be over and we are ready for it to be back to normal. Everyone has multiple stressors, it doesn’t matter what role you’re in, in the time of the pandemic, everyone has multiple stressors.”

Benkeser said that there are times where she feels anxious about the future or depressed.

“We are going to have this for awhile,” Benkeser said. “This is going to drag on for a long time.”

Coping mechanisms are helpful ways to deal with the stress and anxiety Benkeser said.

“Sometimes at this point in COVID, some people may feel like, ‘why doesn’t anyone see my pain or feel my pain, I’m barely hanging on,'” Benkeser said. “It’s because everyone is thinking that. It doesn’t cost you anything to be kind.”

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Hope is a senior converged journalism major entering her third year on The Rocket staff and her second year as campus life editor. Previously, she served as assistant campus life editor after contributing to the campus life section her freshman year. After graduation, she hopes to report for a paper either in local journalism or city news. Outside of The Rocket, Hope is also part of the JumpStart Mentor Program, the Student Organization of Latinos Hispanics and Allies (SOL) and Lambda Pi Eta.


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