College challenges: COVID-19 edition

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Student stressed while working on homework. Photo credit: Carlos Bolivar

Between homework, projects, tests and work, many students have a hard time managing their time, and now COVID-19 has added on to those difficulties.

According to Guide to Mental Health in College by Evan Thompson, “85% of college students reported higher levels of stress and anxiety due to COVID-19 and uncertainty about continuing their education.”

Despite classes returning to campus, some students have found anxieties that come as a side effect of returning to campus during the pandemic.

Student stresses during homework.
Student stresses during homework. Photo credit: Rudy Diaz

Marah Olmstead, a sophomore studying food science, said it has become more difficult to socialize.

“It has been tough because we aren’t supposed to do a lot of socializing,” Olmstead said. “It makes being social harder. Sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in my apartment.”

Along with the social aspect, Olmstead noticed her academics have become more difficult with the COVID-19 restrictions.

For instance, food science labs used to be performed in groups in kitchens on campus, but now she works independently in the labs, which has its own obstacles.

“We kind of have to do everything on our own,” Olmstead said. “If I were with a group of people, it would help me to learn tips and tricks that they know, and also just make things a lot smoother.”

Faye Sauers, a freshman majoring in international studies, said technology problems arise from remote classes.

“In-person class is where I learn more,” Sauers said. “I am not this tech-savvy person with laptops. So it’s been very difficult trying to Zoom.”

Heidi Daniels, a sophomore studying communication, said the virus has added extra stress to her college experience.

“I do have older grandparents,” Daniels said. “I don’t wanna go out as much so I can see them when I visit. So I feel like that limits my social interaction.”

Daniels also described how the social aspect of in-person classes is different.

“It detracts from that human interaction that we have in classes and making friends that way,” Daniels said. “You’re not as excited to learn as much.”

Along with the hassles the virus has brought, students still face other stresses that come with being a college student, including time management.

“You have to balance schoolwork, social life, taking care of yourself,” Olmstead said. “You have a lot of responsibilities that you usually don’t have at home.”

Olmstead used a bullet journal to plan out her week as a way to relieve this anxiety.

Clutter of assignments.
Clutter of assignments. Photo credit: Rudy Diaz

Some students also add a job to the list of things to juggle. For Annalise Fullmer, a sophomore studying elementary education, working while going to school has been her biggest worry this semester.

Fullmer had to decrease her work hours in order to meet assignment deadlines and give more time to studying.

Students have faced impediments in their college experience before COVID-19 and now face new ones because of the virus. Despite these challenges, there are ways to help cope with them.

According to Michigan Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry, there are five tips to cope with stress as a COVID-19 college student. These tips are:

— Know that it is OK to feel how you are feeling.

— Maintain a routine.

— Practice good sleep hygiene.

— Connect with others.

— Take a break.

Despite the influx of struggles students face, there are resources and strategies to ease the stress. Some resources on campus include BYU-I Thrive and the Counseling Center, where students can work one-on-one with a counselor.