#Personal Stories

My College Life And Mental Health Is Messed Up, Thanks To COVID-19

reading book pandemic

Being in the second year of college myself, I’ve lost a year of my college life to the virus. The other day I jokingly said to my friends, “The semester won this time. I lost”. But if you really think about my college life and mental health, it’s not much of a joke. Semesters have become more stressful with work and deadlines piling up from all corners. In order to keep up with the University’s orders to finish the syllabus in time and with cases rising every day, both students and teachers are more stressed day by day.

Students like me are pretty much still conditioned to study and work for our assignments, one after the other while half the population suffers from the virus.

At this point, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that my concern for my attendance and internal assessments and marks takes a toll on my mental health quite frequently now.

I have spent so much of my life indoors trying to keep safe while keeping my grades up for the past semester that I sometimes get jealous when I see other people and celebrities on social platforms like Instagram and Twitter, posting and tweeting about the fun things they do during the pandemic. It’s just the same dark spiralling thoughts from there onwards.

I’ve recently been interacting regularly on social platforms with a classmate from my college, who I never got the chance to know and befriend in real life. She told me that she’s also “living one assignment deadline to the other”. She jokingly continued, “And all the time I’m scared that my own deadline will arrive”. Welcome to the monotonous online college student life where you fear two things: not submitting your assignments on time and dying.

Like I mentioned before, my college days were cut short with the spread of COVID-19 in the country and the closing of all educational institutions. I’m sure there are many classmates that I won’t get to be close to, many classmates that I won’t get to bond or have fun with. I have so many promises kept with so many people although I don’t know if they will get to be fulfilled at this point. Most of the promises made are dinner dates in different fancy restaurants to just eat and talk once we can all go back to college to meet up.

Ageing in the pandemic is stressful, especially for me as a student. The global pandemic has put a hold on my adulthood and college life, exchanging all the real experiences I could be having with a virtual one that I experience inside the same four walls every single day. I have to come to terms with the fact that I’ve aged during the lockdown and when I think about that and people expecting more from me, I just panic a little in my head.

Mental health messed up. It’s unfair to talk only about my life as a student and how the pandemic has messed up my mental health when professors get affected just the same.

The professors from my department work so very hard trying to be inclusive, understanding, and kind to every student. But some of them have also tested positive for the virus and are on leave recently. And despite plans for vaccines to be rolled out, a lot of my friends have also tested positive in the past few weeks. Recently, one of my professors even had to take a two-week-long leave not because she was infected but because she was just too exhausted and burnt out with the never-ending online work from the University. Sometimes when I look at myself and everyone around me, it’s hard to know where all of these excessive “online” things will take us.

For worse or for better, online classes are here to stay thanks to the pandemic. I’ve lost a year of my college life to the virus and maybe I’ll lose much more. For a person who started studying through laptop screens for about a year, I’m still trying my best to be hopeful and empathetic towards the cruel situation because there’s nothing much I can do about it. I see mothers and daughters sulking through pandemic days. I also know that many families out there are curious as to what ‘safe and sound’ feels like. And at this point, I can do nothing more than hope for the world to heal and get well soon.