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Pandemic causes stress, anxiety for many college students, but there’s help

The year 2020 changed the lives of everyone. People lost jobs, businesses were forced into closure, and schools changed instructional methods to online. Those changes took a toll on students, especially high school seniors and incoming college freshmen.

 According to science news, before the pandemic, college students already struggled with anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders at a rate higher than that of the general population. With the emergence of the coronavirus, many young adults were trying to adjust to the new way of life, and the additional challenges of virtual school could be an added burden to their mental health.

Freshman Jamyaa Barnett said her mental health has been affected by the pandemic. “I feel lonely,” she said. “When the pandemic first came about, and everyone was isolated, my anxiety increased dramatically.”

Many young adults have said their mental state has been affected by the many restrictions the coronavirus brought to campuses. The usual traditional opening of the fall semester was pushed back at many colleges and replaced with virtual learning. Some students have yet to grasp the concept fully.

Jones freshman Adashun Jones said, “I learn better in a classroom. I know I can get the help right then and there instead of having to wait days to get a response. By the time I get the response, I won’t even need the help anymore.”

Some students do not have the same support system as others and need to be around people to function better. The discipline required for online learning has taken a toll on some of the students’ grades. A few Jones students believed that the virtual work was optional and just pushed it to the side until a later date, then were surprised they missed a deadline. Some feel overwhelmed by the amount of work.

Upcoming graduate Louis White III said, “I mean, it is a lot of work. I don’t think it would be this much if we actually had class every day like we would if corona didn’t exist.”

For some students, pre-pandemic school served as a haven. When schools shut down, some students returned to their abusive, broken and empty households, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. School was the only way some students received a hot meal or had people to rely on.

Students need to understand how they feel are normal and that they should communicate about how they feel.

Jones College has counselors who can help put things into perspective and motivate students to address any issues or problems. Director of Counseling, Sarah Jones, said the number of students who have received counseling has slightly increased since the pandemic started.

“I expect that number to increase more once students are back on campus and able to utilize resources that are available,” she said.

Jones also said that anxiety and depression are two issues students deal with the most on campus. There are signs students can notice that will help them realize they need to seek help.

“…when you constantly have a depressed mood, not motivated to function in your daily life or activities you once enjoyed and feeling like you don’t have a purpose,” said Jones. “Although that’s not all of the signs, but it’s a start to reach out if you need help.”

Jones said it’s essential to have a healthy mental state.

“It’s ok to seek help so that you can have a balance in your life and also enjoy life,” she said.

Students can make an appointment with Sarah Jones by phone at 601-477-4070 or by emailing sarah.jones@jcjc.edu.

by Ashanti Brown

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