By: Mario Estiverne
With classes now fully online since the Thanksgiving break, students' mental health is more of a concern. Speaking from my own experience, at the beginning of the pandemic, I felt fine when initially making the shift from in-person to online classes. Time eventually progressed and I slowly became aware of what I was about to miss out on, and how few things I was able to safely do, and it started to take a toll on me.
My plans for the future and the many other tasks I had hoped to accomplish came to a screeching halt as industries and opportunities began to shut down right in front of me. Every day I would constantly refresh the news in hopes of a brighter day, but instead, life kept on getting more and more bleak. Despite this reality, there have been moments where I was able to grow and shape some parts of myself.
Not everyone is capable of coping with the stress, anxiety or depression that comes with such drastic social changes. Sometimes, individuals need to rely on an external source. With many public areas beginning to close again, there are limited opportunities and limited outlets that you can rely on for help. The sun is going down much earlier with daylight savings and the oncoming winter; it’s darker for longer hours of the day, and typically, that causes people to want to stay inside much longer since it creates a feeling of nighttime.
With this being the case, while the seasons begin to change and the pandemic once again builds momentum to rage on, it is natural that worries begin to float around our minds more and cause us to panic, feeling as though we have more work than we can handle. This can potentially cause more stress to us and our mental health slowly deteriorates and eventually worsens.
Mental health and academic success are both intertwined in some form. Some people may lack the motivation, or they feel like there is too much for them to do and handle, so they begin to drift away from their academic obligations. If the student were to drift away from the work they have to handle, they will slowly fall behind on the academic curve and then potentially feel as though college was not meant for them or that they potentially cannot handle the work that is lined up for them. Many are overwhelmed during this time, and our goals feel less tangible when we are limited in our daily routines.
Widespread distribution of a potential vaccine that can slow the spread of this treacherous virus is still months away. When learning more about the virus and what it is capable of, my sense of security began to drop slowly each day. The more this virus is being studied and analyzed, the more paranoid and uncertain we are. Having a sore throat is now something that will immediately give you reason to head to the hospital. There is constantly something to look out for and to be aware of because no one really knows the direction we’re going to take.
Some people rely on communication with their friends and close ones to feel better, some rely on being by themselves, and some rely on outdoor activities to meet their mental needs. There are many other things people rely on to regulate themselves. I personally drive out and park my car somewhere that is not busy and I just sit there and collect myself again.
Our best chance of making it through this mess is to stick to the routine we hold dear to us and modify it to ensure that our mental stability remains intact. Mental health and stability within our growing youth is very important and it is best we do not lose it.
If you can, find what keeps you feeling your best. Even when it gets hard, try to make time to do things that maintain your health. And while the stigma surrounding professional mental health care is intimidating, seeking professional help can be life-changing and life saving. Here at Adelphi, the Student Counseling Center (SCC) offers different support groups as well as individual counseling sessions with a qualified individual to help you feel your best. If you think you could use some support, take a look at the services that SCC offers here: https://www.adelphi.edu/scc/