Beyond SAT-UNSAT: Why Harvard Should Pass Everyone with a 4.0

Lorenzo F. Manuali:

We’re living in a state of war. It’s beyond stressful for everyone.

The link between heightened chronic stress and a weakened immune response is well-established in psychological literature. Citing one professor of infectious disease, a recent Wall Street Journal article warned readers, “The more you stress about the virus, the more likely you are to suffer from it.” Seriously. The chronic inflammation and high cortisol levels stress causes can erode the body’s ability to rapidly marshal the immune system and even activate latent viruses.

Students are no exception — certainly not to stress nor to its negative effects.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has imposed chronic stress on all of us — stress from leaving campus early, being quarantined in a room, seeing constant reminders of a seemingly omnipresent threat splayed on every TV screen and newspaper, or living with the threat that the virus is posing to us and our loved ones. This is to say nothing of students for whom the ramifications of COVID-19 have caused disproportionate stress. For some, life at home is unstable; for others, mental illness has been exacerbated, and for yet others, low-income or first-generation status poses additional challenges that the rest of us can only imagine.