The Struggles of College Students During Covid-19

The imagery of the college experience is one that’s often parodied, but behind that ramen noodle soup and exam filled fever dream is an experience with its fair share of growing pains, is necessary. University is that formative period that bridges adolescence and adulthood and with it comes connections and hands on learning that makes a lifelong impact.

Suddenly, Covid-19 upturns the state of the world into a pandemic, where the most mundane details of life seem more like a privilege rather than a right. For college students, this socioeconomic trickledown effect that resulted from the virus can be devastating. Besides the obvious dent in the job market (which the world is struggling with), there is a loss of something more profound which is the freedom and growth of this period.

According to the Washington Post, there was a 90% rise of depression in university students during the pandemic. After the initial shock, these numbers also bring a realization to the steep decline of mental health in university students throughout the past year.

Students find themselves in a strange limbo that leaves their lives in a state of disarray. With some schools sending students who reside on campus home, normalcy is out of the picture. Once places bustling with all kinds of energy and movement, campuses now resemble ghost towns rather than institutions of education.

“ Empty Campus” Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant MI (Jessi Opperthauser)

Another massive change for students is that lectures and labs are now being done online through web applications like Webex, Google Classroom, ect. As Dr. Cohan of Psychology Today points out, this provides challenges for not just students who may struggle with this new kind of learning, but also professors who can find it mentally/emotionally exhausting to keep track and teach through this new medium.

Now that we have a better understanding of how the pandemic disrupts the growth of university students, it’s important to dig deeper into some solutions. Due to the gravity of the pandemic, it can be difficult to find answers to bigger issues, but symptoms such as stress can be managed in a variety of ways. According to the American Psychological Association, it is very important to practice self-care, and to set up routines as a student.

There are also other ways that students can help themselves, as I detail in my YouTube channel, Student Sense. In the video below, there are tips and tricks for students to actively stay engaged and focused (like using the Pomodoro study technique) that can help in curbing stress during this period.

Three tips that can be useful to college students

Overall, university students are struggling to find normalcy in a world where a pandemic serves as a morbid backdrop. With so many unknowns hanging in the balance it can be difficult for students to make major decisions when the college experience is taken away. While time can only tell the effect that this gap in formative years has had on this generation, one thing remains clear: students have developed a sharper sense of resilience, discipline, and self care from the pandemic that will assist in future endeavors.

For this, we are grateful.

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