Back to College Stress…in a COVID Year

Dr. Samantha Morel August 10th, 2021

With the beginning of the Fall semester approaching fast, many college students are no doubt feeling the pressure of a new environment, difficult classes, and the ongoing global pandemic. In a study from October 2020 by The Jed Foundation, 200 college students were surveyed on their mental health during the pandemic. They found that 63% of the students surveyed felt that their emotional health had declined during the pandemic and was actually worse than when it began. They found that the students overwhelmingly experienced mental health difficulties and stressors in everyday life. These include anxiety (82%), social isolation/loneliness (68%), depression (63%), trouble concentrating (62%), and difficulty coping with stress (60%).

When you think about stress, did you know there are several different kinds? Generally, we think of four big categories, each with very different symptoms. These are physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral. Physical symptoms can be headaches, nausea, trouble sleeping, etc. Possible emotional symptoms are sadness and/or depression, feelings of being overwhelmed, feelings of isolation, and irritability. Cognitive symptoms include impaired concentration, excessive and prolonged worrying, and repetitive or unwanted thoughts. Finally, behavioral symptoms include sleep and eating habit changes, failure to complete everyday responsibilities, and drastic changes in academic performance.

What makes this time of year stressful?

So what can I do?

While all of these things are true, stress doesn’t have to stifle your vibe. Managing your stress effectively can make all the difference in the world! Here’s a few ideas to help you adjust to going back to school this semester:

Considering the difficulty of college life and coursework and the fact that we’re stuck in a global pandemic, it’s understandable that college students are stressed and anxious right now. Who wouldn’t be? However, there are many things that the average college student can keep in mind that can still make these some of the best years of your life!

Stay well,

-Dr. M



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