COVID-19 hurting college students

By Sharadyn Janssen

In just a few months, COVID-19 has impacted all people, especially college students. Students have seriously struggled this semester against the many barriers created by the pandemic.

Apart from the health consequences from those diagnosed, COVID-19 has affected many other area of students’ lives, including education, athletics, work, mental health, friendship, and experience.

The quality of education that students are being offered is one of the biggest challenges they face. Converting to an online, or partially online, schedule has caused changes that have challenged students’ learning capabilities.

“When we are in class, I feel like I can’t make that connection like I normally do. It’s crazy just how much the nonverbal cues of my students impact my teaching and how cut off from that I feel when their face is covered up,” Tiffany Frericks, John Wood Community College professor, said. 

Some students are paying thousands of dollars to attend schools through a computer screen. Even worse, some students are going into debt attending these expensive schools, while missing out on a lot of the experiences that would typically come with the school.

Studying abroad, a part of college that is normally encouraged, is impossible. International flights are unallowed at this time, limiting the student’s opportunity to see the world, take in a new culture, grow their language skills, and personally develop.

According to college athletics, team members are being quarantined regularly, leaving practices with less people. Athletes have to wear masks during strenuous activities like running and lifting. Seasons for many college sports have even been pushed back into the spring semester.

“It is really hard for me to watch my senior teammates be so devastated that their last year of soccer is happening like this,” Grace Hilbing said.

Students are also limited on essential experiences that help with student life, such as meeting friends or classmates, or creating a strong relationship with faculty and professors.

“I miss meeting all my teachers and forming a sort of bond. When I can relate with them, it makes me want to be more accountable in my schoolwork and not let them down,” Mikayla Jennings said.

Group projects are avoided at all costs, robbing the students of the opportunity to grow their social skills among one another. This also prevents students from growing their skills in working as a team, a valuable asset needed for most career success.

The next devastating impact is on the college experience. Students are missing out on many experiences that are supposed to make up “the best 4 years of their lives.” Having parties or large social events are strongly prohibited by the CDC and consequently, the campuses.

Students are even encouraged to “socially distance” themselves from their closest loved ones. Relationships with family members and friends are not going to have the same bonds when the only form of communication that occurs is virtual or six feet away.

For these reasons, apart from friendships already made, it is also difficult for students to meet new people or make new friends on campus.

Mental health is another way in which this pandemic has created challenge for students. It has increased the likelihood of depression and anxiety, on top of the academic and economic pressure that students already face.

The corona virus pandemic is an unprecedented event. This leaves students to navigate new struggles with mere uncertainty. However, this pandemic can mold students to embrace the importance of being versatile, and adapting to any new challenges they may face.

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