Being at a university is time-consuming to the point that it takes away all the energy to do other things. Having regular hobbies and a life outside of university is a very difficult task to accomplish with the innumerable assignments and exams that one needs to suffer through.
It is sometimes not immediately obvious that we do have more identities than just being a college student and sometimes that is a good thing because it keeps you focused on strengthening your academics and extracurriculars.
On the other hand, it makes you complacent to see the intersectionality focus of the world. Keeping up with current events and things outside of university is equally as important as being a focused college student.
When I got the update about the fires, I was studying for my midterms that were in the middle of the week and completing an assignment that was due that night. I had been stressed for all these tasks I needed to accomplish that it did not even register that fire was something that would affect everything in school.
When classes got canceled on Monday, there were friends of mine whose midterms got canceled to be taken another day and my first reaction to that was I wish that could happen to me.
And that's when it occurred to me that everything I have thought about after hearing about the fires has been how it is affecting my academic life. I had not given a thought about my actual life: would we need to evacuate? Do my parents know about the fires yet?
It is startling to realize that the assignment that I was stressed about was negligible compared to what was happening around me. I was so involved with my own small college existence that I really forgot about the bigger picture.
Fortunately, the fires had not come nearer, conditions improved, and things went back to normal.
But now, I am armed with the knowledge that academic stress is manageable when you know that there is way more important things to stress about.