On March 6, 2020, UWF students left the university as they normally would for Spring Break, expecting to return the next Monday. Unfortunately, COVID-19 had other plans and all schools in the U.S. would be transitioned to online learning indefinitely.
After months of quarantining and confusion, the beginning of the fall semester allows for selected students to return to campus, but a majority of the classes are still being taught remotely.
Students now have to find the motivation to stay on top of classes while juggling the uncertainty and chaos that is rocking the world.
This is not easy.
Even writing this article took a lot of dedication and patience, and this is something that normally would come extremely easy.
Active Minds, a non-profit organization supporting mental health awareness and education, surveyed over 2,000 students in April 2020 and 80% of college students reported that COVID-19 has negatively affected their mental health.
Many Argos have felt the pressure of balancing mental health and their academics.
“My mental health is the worst it’s ever been because I’m taking 15 credit hours all online and they’re all studio art classes,” UWF student Emily Highers said. “Having to balance it with working full time has been very challenging so it’s hard to juggle everything.”
The effects of COVID-19 are already hard to work through, but combined with school, work and family responsibilities, staying on top of mental health is harder than ever.
Being disconnected from the in-person classroom has caused a lot of mental difficulty around motivation and concentration among students.
“I would say my mental health has definitely taken a toll through the course of online learning,” Junior Grace Robinson said. “I feel like I am not learning as much as I would being in an in-person lecture, and that leads to me being stressed and worried about how it may affect my future.”
Right now, everyone is experiencing the pandemic in extremely different, but equally challenging ways.
Many are finding that even though the UWF campus is opened with limitations, it’s better than being completely isolated altogether.
“It’s hard to find the motivation to do anything, not to mention all of my assignments,” a student at UWF said. “Going back on campus, though it is only for my labs, is helping tremendously. I get to see classmates and instructors which gives me some sense of normal.”
Anxiety surrounding the class work has caused many students to feel overwhelmed with online learning.
“My mental health was very much impacted by the online transition due to COVID-19,” Junior Faith Forehand said. “My anxiety has been at an all-time high since May but has intensified since having all online classes.”
The positive side of this situation is that everyone, at UWF and all around the world, is having to deal with the same pressures, changes, and stress, meaning that no one is alone in the way they are feeling.
Everyone has had their lives seriously impacted over the past six months and understanding that we are all in this battle together can help put a lot of anxiety at ease.
In addition to services and organizations, there are also smaller things that can help improve your mental health right now and make finding motivation for schoolwork easier.
A lot of Argos have reported that staying connected with friends and family has helped tremendously, especially with peers who are taking the same courses as them.
Changing your work environment, to somewhere safe like outdoors, has also been helpful for concentration and motivation over the past few months of online school.
Remember to be patient with yourself and to map out your school week in advance, that way if it takes longer than usual to get everything done you won’t be waiting until the last minute.
Being vocal and honest with your professors is extremely important during this time.
They understand what everyone is going through right now and will be able to work with you to help you succeed.
Whenever you feel the weight of the world, remind yourself that you’re not alone, there are resources available, and your fellow peers at UWF know exactly how you feel.
This is not permanent.
There is currently an Active Minds organization at UWF that has been posting weekly updates, live videos, resources, and holding zoom meetings.
The UWF counseling and psychological services are also offering teletherapy and provide a large amount of resources on their website.