COVID-19 threatens student confidence in academic path

With the spring 2020 semester wrapping up, many students are thinking about their academic futures for the fall 2020 semester and beyond. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, classes will only be offered online in the summer semester.

This has forced some students, especially graduates, to reconsider whether or not they even want to apply to other schools at this time. The pressure of feeling rushed to complete school has caused the stress of falling behind.

There is essentially an imaginary timeline wavering over all of us that has been placed by society. We’ve dealt with the pressure since we were in high school, being reminded of college 24/7. 

Students should realize that it is perfectly fine to not follow that timeline and honestly, there are more students who do not have a clear plan than most people realize. College is the time to explore our options. Students should be doing what is best for them right now versus forcing themselves to dive head first into classes where they may not feel confident in their ability to perform as well as they would being in a traditional classroom.

In addition to school stress, the virus and its complications have been increasingly harmful to students’ mental and physical health. Being in quarantine has us worried about oversleeping, overeating, and pretty much doing too much of anything. The same goes for schoolwork — no one wants to be sitting in front of a computer screen all day, if they even have access to one.

People with standing mental health issues are being deprived of human and social interaction, and unfortunately, victims of abuse struggle to escape their circumstances as well. 

Additionally, any counseling appointments (any type of appointment, really) may be more difficult to schedule at this time than ever before. 

Now more than ever, all people need to be compassionate and understanding of the way others are choosing to live their lives during this crisis. 

I once read that self-care does not necessarily always have to be physical. Yes, you can do face masks, paint your nails, and use bath bombs. Self-care also means making lasting changes to your life that will have positive impacts, anything from decluttering the stuff in your room to the people in your life.

It can be taking a walk, having a phone call with a loved one, making a list of goals or things to get done, dedicating yourself to a passion of yours, but most importantly, practicing patience and having hope that this will all be over soon.

All we can do is do our best. After all, we are going through a pandemic. Not every moment in time has to be educational. We can find a way to plan our futures without rushing to get there.