As the spring semester begins again and students living at home get a semblance of the college experience through a blue-dimmed computer screen, they can’t help but feel at a loss at times.
Due to the lack of social interaction and stripping away of what was supposed to be our roaring 20s, students like myself can’t help but feel defeated by endless days turned into nights thinking of what will happen in the months to come.
With students now facing all sorts of challenges the world has piled on top of us within the past year, attention to our mental health matters more than ever.
A year ago this March, the once independent social life we had on campus was pulled right from under us after spring break. How do students now living at home strive each day to rebuild a life they once had? Our simple walks around campus are now replaced with the same sidewalks we stepped on walking to the grade school bus.
Along with feeling as if we were sent back to the days before we even started college, students are faced with trying to continue to grow in places we’ve outgrown, striving to be the adult versions of ourselves in environments we have moved on from. This reality is hard to face as we balance online classes, extracurriculars and a personal life.
The emphasis on mental health among students needs to be recognized and talked about more openly in classrooms, meetings and among each other more than ever. It needs to be normalized to ask someone in your class if they are okay and even more normalized to be able to email your professor that you are not in the best headspace mentally to attend class.
It is important to keep in mind as we continue the school year that no one truly knows what happens behind the faces we see on our screens every week; but it is crucial that we at least pay attention to our peers to make sure no one feels alone in their battle with mental health.
It can be hard to admit to others that the smile you wear on camera is not how you truly feel at the end of the night. This is why it is so important to reach out to your classmates and peers if you see signs of mental health issues in someone you have encountered and ask them how they’re doing instead of ignoring what may just seem like them being withdrawn from class.
In reminiscing on the times we did share meeting friends for lunch at Au Bon Pain and staying up way too late in our dorm rooms, we can look for other ways to make each other feel less alone by simply being there in one of the most challenging times of our lives.
We will get through this time of uncertainty and look back in a couple of years at the students starting their own college experience, thankful we did ask if that classmate was okay.