College students struggle amid pandemic

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 10:51 AM CST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - When the coronavirus spread across the country, college students were forced to take classes online from their dorm rooms or homes. Many are still learning online.

Hayley Cange, a senior at Depauw University studying Global Health, is one of them. Her college experience this year looks much different than her first three years because of the virus.

“Now more than ever, I’ve lacked motivation,” said Cange.

Every day last semester, she sat in front of her laptop for hours, interacting with her professors and peers over Zoom.

“I didn’t feel like myself as a student most of the time,” she said.

During the fall semester, DePauw University juniors and seniors took courses online, while the underclassman returned to campus.

Colleges across the country are offering classes online to keep students safe during the pandemic. Kevin Kruger, President of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) said while online learning is not a new concept, experiencing it now raises psychological concerns.

“The pandemic has amplified and increased those mental health issues, both for college students but also for Americans in general,” said Kruger.

A recent survey conducted by NASPA found that one in five students report they are constantly anxious about the pandemic. Students are also spending less time sleeping and exercising compared to the months before coronavirus hit the country.

Carolyn Berger, a counselor education program coordinator at the University of Minnesota, says online learning may be socially draining to some because they are no longer able to interact with their classmates in person.

“They’re not just whining, it really, truly is extremely isolating for them,” said Berger.

Berger said students should establish a daily routine to improve their mental health. She recommends students set an alarm for the same time each day to help combat the psychological effects of remote learning.

With two COVID-19 vaccines already rolled out and others in the pipeline, universities hope campuses can return to some type of normalcy soon.

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