College students struggle with mental health during COVID-19 pandemic
In March of 2020, when colleges were abruptly forced to transition to online coursework, students and faculty were equally confused and scared of how to make this an easy transition for both parties.
Teachers and students work best in a classroom setting because they rely on each other to determine what should and should not be taught throughout the school year. This keeps both teachers and students actively involved in the classroom because students have the ability to ask questions and get an immediate response. Almost a year into the pandemic, students just as well as teachers are still getting accustomed to the circumstances.
According to Johns Hopkins University Medical center, the first case of the Coronavirus was initially found in December of 2019. The symptoms can vary from shortness of breath to a severe cough and even more but varies in how it affects everyone. Symptoms can vary from mild flu-like symptoms to even death within a week span of contracting the virus. College’s have taken it upon themselves to comply with necessary guidelines to stop the spread of the virus with goals of keeping both students and professors safe.
As the pandemic continues, college students keep finding news ways to cope with the stress and anxiety while still trying to graduate on time.
After the trauma of last Spring semester, college students were not as motivated to come back during the fall. Aislinn Perdomo, senior at SUNY Brockport says, “ I didn’t necessarily want to come back to school this semester. I wanted to be back just to get the semester over with and be closer to my degree but, not necessarily because I was looking forward to it”. College students felt as if their mental health was not prioritized amidst the pandemic that was happening around us.
Schools are continuously following guidelines to keep everyone safe and away from the virus. Yet, colleges failed to acknowledge that the virus affects college students in much more than just shortness of breath and a cough.
Colleges have provided students with direct contact to counseling centers that can most likely help but, it’s just not priority. Speaking about mental health became more of a protocol since colleges realized it was better for students to be aware of these outreach resources instead of remaining silent throughout the pandemic. However, these efforts are not being enforced for students to take advantage of.
With anxiety and stress at an all time high, college students are trying to cope with the circumstances while maintaining good grades.
“As far as the institution reaching out and making sure people are great physically, it was non-existent,” said Abel Santiago, an acting major at SUNY Purchase.
When the pandemic first began, SUNY Purchase would constantly reach out to students ensuring they were doing ok but that effort of care faded away as the pandemic continued throughout the school year.
Multiple institutions have ran test to determine the increase of mental health issues within college students. The national center for biotechnology information states, “Of the 195 students, 138 (71%) indicated increased stress and anxiety due to the COVID-19 outbreak”. The study shows that majority of students do feel that they have lacked mental health since the pandemic began. The mental health of college students is critical since many have taken of the stress of not graduating, making sure they are safe and, making sure their families stay safe as well.
Ayana Lewis, social work major at SUNY Brockport says she felt as her life had drastically changed overall from the time COVID was first introduced up until now.
“COVID has made me a couch potato, I don’t even do my hair anymore because I know that there’s no place for me to go”, said Lewis. “COVID has definitely made me feel a little crazy. I’m way lazier and unmotivated”.
College students are still finding ways to figure things out in a way that works for them. Many miss being around their friends and just having a place to kill time in between classes at.
“I was hoping that this semester would be almost normal. I miss being around people and going to the union to meet up with my friends”, said Lewis.
The average life of a college student has been put on hold till further notice. The suspense of not knowing what will happen for future semesters only makes students experience higher anxiety. us in the future semesters only piles up the anxiety.
As of right now, college students miss going to class, the food court to meet up with friends, or even an athletic event, or simply just a place to unwind after a long day.
“The school can try to get more involved with the students, get COVID safe activities to do so we could be more involved. Imagine how freshmen are feeling, this isn’t the real college experience at all” said Alanis Mendez, a healthcare administration major at SUNY Brockport.
Students are still hopeful of finding a way to be active on campus while following guidelines.
As of right now, college students do not feel as if they are living to their full potential academically. Some feel like they aren’t doing enough.
Moving forward, the mental of health of college students continues to decrease as the pandemic continues. As we are still mid-pandemic, college students are still finding ways to cope and get through the semester. Many studies have been made that show the lack of mental health in the community of college students. Overall, with attempting to balance keeping themselves and their loved ones safe with also keeping their grades up college students have their hands full. Exactly a year into the pandemic and college students continue to cope with their mental health issues however they can.