As the one-year anniversary of the start of quarantining, as a result of COVID-19, has come and gone, college students have been pushed to work almost non-stop, whether from home, online, or in-person. The pressure of college can already be a lot of a student, and adding a pandemic on top of that doesn’t make it any more manageable.
Many colleges have refrained from giving students a Fall and Spring Break to prevent unnecessary travel and to cut down on exposure to the virus. While this has been helpful in keeping students safe from the virus, it has also made students more burned out than ever.
Samford University’s Director of Counseling and Wellness, Rich Yoakum, said they have seen in students that COVID-19 and social limitations have taken a toll, especially for those who were already struggling with mental health disorders.
“Instead of being a 7/10 on the anxiety scale, COVID-19 has made students more of an 8/10,” Yoakum added.
Students have struggled with workloads as well, making their motivation to do classwork dwindle. Katie Estes, a junior Biochemistry and Spanish double major at Samford University, explained that the impact of having a lack of a break not only affected her mental health, but also her physical health.
“Not only has content had to be crammed into a shorter amount of time, after having a week packed with midterms, students mentally and physically need a break. Just this spring semester after having four midterms in one week, I became sick and had to miss three days of classes,” Estes said.
So how can students help themselves to make it through the final few weeks of the semester? Yoakum said to take breaks often, do activities alongside your homework and socialize as often and safely as you can. If you aren’t enjoying what you’re doing, it will take more of a toll on your mental health.
Aubrie Strange, a senior Journalism and Mass Communication major at Samford University, said she tries to get off campus as much as she can.
“Whether that’s to a coffee shop here in Birmingham, or to the beach, or even home, I just try to get away. I also have continued doing things I enjoy, like reading and volunteering, to offload some stress,” Strange added.
Breaks have taken a different meaning at some universities this year, being much shorter and not as conducive to travel. But students have found ways to relax and take a moment away from their school work to keep their mental health in good standing.