I remember being told we had an extended spring break. Naturally, we were all so excited! I mean, we were in Florida. What better place to be “stuck” for spring break? It was not long after the first announcement that we got told we had to leave the tournament we were playing in. Looking back, that was the last time I saw most of my teammates until that coming August. An entire 5-months away from the people I was used to spending every minute of my time with.
The way college students socialize has changed drastically. From living in on-campus housing to adjusting to remote learning: college looks different. Instead of a social gathering in a dorm room, Zoom has become a popular form of socializing.
(caption: a Birthday Party in 2020)
Ultimately, I was really confused and worried about what was going on. No one really had any idea what was happening. I feel like now people are just smarter about what they are doing and who they are seeing. I trust my teammates to not see people that might make us quarantine. I do the same. At first, I was really anxious going home and coming back to campus. I did not want to give anyone COVID. But now, I think we have all settled into our routines and there is not as much anxiety this semester.
College students from the US to China have been experiencing increased levels of anxiety. Anxiety can be prompted by various stressors. These stressors, for many college students, include economic factors (How will I pay my rent and tuition?), academic stressors (How will I adjust my study habits for online learning?), and family related stressors (What if my mom, who is ‘at risk,’ contracts COVID while I am at school?).
I’ve tried to learn to calm myself down as I find meditation helps. I’ve been getting a lot of schoolwork done on the side. I also see a counselor weekly, which has helped me.
The experiences of this college student are not uncommon. Mental health concerns, such as anxiety and depression, already impact college students at high rates. COVID-19 has added to the stressors they experience. These stresses have led to an increase in anxiety and depression. What can college students do to combat these stressful and uncertain times?
- Make positive lifestyle choices. What does this mean? Coping with COVID-19 virus can be as simple as making time to exercise regularly. Eating healthy and avoiding harmful coping mechanisms like drugs and alcohol all contribute to positive lifestyle behaviors. Finally, sleep! Sleeping is an important part of positive lifestyle behaviors.