Published: 25th November 2020
Here's how you can get your head back in the game as colleges slowly reopen across the country
How can you mentally prepare yourself to reenter the classroom while the world still faces an unprecedented pandemic of global proportions? A Clinical Psychologist weighs in
Going to college, stepping into this new chapter of life, brings immense joy to a student. There is excitement about future explorations and excursions, about finding one’s identity and a giddy rush to see how things will shape up in the coming times. But the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed aside this enthusiasm and replaced it with trepidation and fear. The worry students harbour is not just about the pandemic and what this means in terms of spending time studying from home.
There are rising concerns around the uncertainty of the given situations and the numerous proposed mechanisms that are to be brought into place when they are to resume attending classes at college. The unpredictability of the pandemic and the uncertainty that surrounds how the virus infects and spreads is creating immense anxiousness, impacting moods and also making them nervous and confused about whether they would like to even get into spaces where they have to come into contact with others.
In working with college students during this time period, some of the primary concerns that have emerged include an increase in loneliness feelings of social isolation, rise in worries and anxiety, an impact on a person’s mood in the form of more lows and irritability and a general experience of feeling stressed where coping mechanisms are getting impacted. A number of students feel baffled with the way the situation is going to develop and as a result, find their resilience withering which is impacting their state of emotional well-being.
It is important for students, their parents and administrators of colleges to be aware of the impact these processes are having upon the mental health and well-being of the students. Keeping this in mind is going to be critical to ensure that support and, if required, interventions can be provided to students at the earliest. Encouraging students to share and discuss their experiences while actively listening to them is going to be critical.
Here are some things that students can do to also take care of their health and well-being:
- Ensure they follow routines which give a semblance of normalcy
- Maintain contact with friends across digital platforms
- Ensure that they speak and share about the concerns they are experiencing, including those pertaining to their academic and future pursuits
- Give reminders to the self to stay grounded in the present and focus on coping with and problem-solving for one thing at a time
- Maintain mechanisms of support for friends within the peer group
- Ensure protocols are being followed as directed and be socially responsible, not just for yourself, but also encouraging others around to be so
- Reach out to experts if required to find support through interventions
- Recognise that the pandemic is challenging for all and it is going to take time is important to keep bracing oneself to maintain equilibrium and resilience
The author is a Clinical Psychologist and is part of the team at the Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences department at Fortis Healthcare. She works with various schools and organisations in the National Capital Region.