We asked some students to reflect on how they are managing the semester in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This first post is from Nicole Paden. She completed her undergraduate degree in Anthropology and is now in the Global Studies graduate program.
Like everyone else I too am adjusting to the new normal. University students throughout the U.S. have mixed emotions on how this unprecedented pandemic has altered our lives, myself included. Some of us see it has an early summer vacation. Professors and universities have become more lenient with grading, so our workload has been reduced dramatically. Many of us have chosen to move in with our parents and are enjoying this time with our families. Those who moved back home are also using this time to catch up with old friends from high school. The students who have decided to remain in their college towns are also doing their best to enjoy themselves during this unusual time. These students limit themselves to the same social circles but are using this time to deepen their friendship. Roommates are playing cards together every night, close friends pick up takeout and enjoy a meal together in their living rooms, students in romantic relationships enjoy picnics in the park with their partners, the list goes on and on.
On the other end of spectrum there are students who have become increasing anxious with the changes brought on by the pandemic. They rarely leave the house. Their lack of social interaction leaves them with only their schoolwork and the pandemic to think about. Their days are spent doing homework, attending zoom meeting, and scrolling through social media (where the only people posting are those who are not following the stay at home order). It can be easy during this time for these students to become depressed and for their levels of anxiety to grow. In my opinion, these students are most concerned about how long this pandemic is going to last. They are asking themselves “How long will I have to live like this?”
We should be concerned for both groups of students. Those who see these changes as an early summer vacation are more likely to ignore the stay at home order and expose themselves to a wide variety of people. This will only aid in the spread of the virus. The students who are the most anxious are likely the ones following the stay at home order. I am concerned for the mental health of these students.