During the fall semester in the midst of the pandemic, many students are struggling to keep their mental health in check.
With coping mechanisms removed by community guidelines and restrictions due to COVID-19, the
mental health of many students is slipping. Fear, anxiety and depression are heightened by the isolation
that quarantine and community regulations create. During recent conversations with fellow students
about their experiences on campus and how they are working to cope with these unprecedented
times, students shared their experience with coping mechanisms in the past and the way their ‘normal’
has been altered.
When discussing their experiences with mental health on campus, an anonymous student described
their mental health to be “nonexistent” due to a lack of access to their previous coping mechanisms. Fellow Eastern students who typically spend time with friends off campus to have a break from their studies now have to find other ways to adhere to community guidelines while still taking care of themselves.
When discussing coping strategies, some students prefer to be around friends, others play sports, and
still others retreat to their rooms for peace and quiet. Karissa Mancentelli said, “I go for a drive to relax
and clear my mind,” when asked how she deals with stress. She finds this a safe way to take time to herself now that she and her roommate are in their dorm all the time while still maintaining community standards of social distancing.”
According to the CDC, many people are also greatly affected by changes to their eating and sleeping habits. Many students are spending more time on their computers with more extensive work outside the classroom, and are finding themselves logging more late nights then ever. Others face challenges with being tired most of the time due to the effects of stress on the body.
Finding coping mechanisms is essential for students experiencing stress especially headed into the finals season as the holidays approach. Taking time to step away from studies to recoup and rest will hopefully help students refocus and finish the semester strong. Students recommended each other to go for a walk, play a game with friends, take time to leave your dorm and turn off your computer to avoid zoom and screen fatigue.
Mental health on campus during the pandemic has been a challenge for many students, and while some have found ways to cope, others have struggled to settle into a schedule and keep their mental health on track.