The Center for Disease Control said a quarter of 18- to 24-year-olds have seriously considered suicide since lockdown started being enforced, according to a report published in August 2020.
A lot has changed since then; we have vaccines now, masking regulations have been relaxing and we have in-person classes. Coming back to school has been a favorable experience for many college students’ mental health, but this is not universal.
“I enjoy school. I like being able to hang out with my friends and have in-person classes,” said 19-year-old Ellie Chang. She described a positive slope regarding her mental health since schools have started again.
Eighteen-year-old Zamzam Mohamed said, “I was nervous and overwhelmed about coming back to college and it was quite nerve-racking in the beginning.”
For many students, the thought of a transition from online school to in-person seemed overwhelming. Especially for 18-year-old Riley Hurley, “I was used to being home and nothing unexpected ever happened. It was almost like a long vacation but now, unexpected things can happen any time since we are constantly interacting with people.”
Hurley also said that the amount of schoolwork can be too much. “I thought school would be nicer but I have been more stressed because of the college grind,” said Hurley.
Coming back to school and being able to hang out with peers and socialize has been helpful to the majority of the students, however for students with already existing mental health struggles, dealing with many people at once and the amount of schoolwork can be a lot to handle.
Twenty-one-year-old Alex Voigt said, “I think it’s because I haven’t had a chance to recover. Last year was a lot. Things looked like they were getting better this summer but then they didn’t, and now, we are stressed again with school. I think part of the frustration and sadness is that we wouldn’t be in this situation, we have vaccines. If everyone masked properly when the pandemic started it wouldn’t have been so bad and we are still dragging it out because of a few people who won’t do their part.”
Experiences with coming back to school can vary for many students. For some, it has been a positive experience so far. For others, it has started with many nerve-racking emotions. For all, it continues to be a path untrodden.