How the COVID-19 Pandemic is impacting college students’ mental health

By Lauren Wixom

ROCHESTER, N.Y – College students are prone to experience anxiety, stress, and depression. The pandemic has heightened these emotions and has caused many negative impacts on college students over the past year. According to a new survey from BestColleges.com, 95% of college students have experienced negative mental health symptoms because of the pandemic. 48% of students who participated in the survey believe the mental health effects have directly impacted their college education.

Pictured above: Mahoney at her college graduation ceremony May 2021
Pictured above: Mahoney and her coworkers and peers on their last day of radiology clinical.

Ashlin Mahoney, an Alfred State University graduate says her mental health was very negatively impacted. Mahoney developed an anxiety disorder during the pandemic which affected her college experience.

“The program that I was in at Alfred is a two-year radiology technician program. I was already under an immense amount of stress because, my program was only two years long and there was a lot of work to be done in that short time frame. I struggled with anxiety since I was 16 but I was never diagnosed with anxiety disorder. But the pressure of finishing college during a pandemic, switching to online learning and other personal issues created more anxiety than I ever experienced before. I started to have panic attacks and would feel very overwhelmed with my schoolwork and at clinical. I went to see a therapist in the fall of 2020, and she diagnosed me when anxiety disorder. I would consistently see my therapist throughout the pandemic and my last semesters of college. I am so happy I went to see her because, if I hadn’t, I’m not sure I would’ve graduated on time”, Mahoney said.

Many college students have struggled with their mental health and all the overwhelming changes the pandemic has caused. There has been an increase in anxiety, depression, higher stress levels and sadness because of the pandemic.

Pictured above: Zimmerman (left), her chiropractor Samuel Camerata (right).
Pictured above: Zimmerman at her internship.

Jennifer Zimmerman, a student at SUNY Brockport has experienced higher levels of stress and isolation during the pandemic.  

“Before the pandemic I interned at my chiropractor’s office and was doing very well in college. After the pandemic hit, I was unable to finish my internship and my grades started slipping. My mom has breast cancer, so I was unable to see anyone and was very isolated. Because I couldn’t see anyone and continue my internship, I became very depressed. My stress levels were at an all-time high and I was very concerned for my mom’s health. Throughout the pandemic I have dealt with a lot of isolation and stress but, it has started to get better as the world is slowly reopening and I am able to finish my internship in the fall of 2021”, Zimmerman said.

Pictured above: Osborn in senior photos.
Pictured above: Osborn at her high school graduation day.

Alyssa Osborn, a freshman at SUNY Brockport has experienced depression and anxiety in her first year of college during the pandemic.

“This was not how I was expecting to go into my first year of college by any means. I struggled so much doing virtual learning and found it very difficult to manage my time. I have had anxiety my whole life but have never experienced it as bad until the pandemic. I became very depressed because for my first year of college was very isolated and anxious. Online learning was the biggest obstacle for me and made me feel very unmotivated. But I am excited to back in person in the fall of 2021 and hope I can get some of the college experience I was originally looking forward to”, Osborn said.

The pandemic has caused many negative impacts on the mental health of college students across the United States. The virtual learning, isolation, financial struggles, and physical health scares has caused mental health issues to become much more prevalent.



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