By: Heather Brimmer
Getting through college is not an easy task. Getting through college during a global pandemic is even harder
A year ago, students were returning from spring break and settling in to get back to work. Now, students at the University of Findlay are finding as many ways as they can to practice self-care during a global pandemic.
Kendra Bermosk, the Assistant Director of Counseling Services, has seen what students have dealt with throughout the last year. She believes the virus has caused everyone to feel more stressed in their day to day lives.
“No one could have anticipated a random global pandemic happening,” Bermosk said. “I think we’ve seen all the normal mental health issues we normally see, but I think it’s upped the intensity of them.”
Bermosk believes that the pandemic has caused students to feel more overwhelmed, beyond the typical stress of classes and the occasional exam. She says that isolation, or not being able to go home has caused students to struggle with their mental health on a different level than students may be used to.
“We’ve seen an increase in stress, [feeling] overwhelmed, anxiety, depression, and loss,” Bermosk said. “I feel like there’s an overwhelming sense of loss. Not just people, but a loss of a sense of normalcy.”
Bermosk advises that students try to do two main things to take care of themselves during this time period of intensified stress. First, she suggests that students try to take care of themselves as best they can, even if that means something as simple as taking a nap. Second, she advises students to keep in contact with the people they care about.
“Stay connected to people,” Bermosk said. “I know that looks different, but I think it’s still possible, whether through Zoom or a text.”
According to Bermosk, many college students feel as though they don’t have time for self-care. She suggests that these students try to schedule time to relax into their day. She says that students should try to find time to do something they love or enjoy, and give themselves something to look forward to. Bermosk says there are many apps for guided stress relief and something as simple as deep breathing can be helpful.
“Be intentional about putting that time into your schedule,” Bermosk said.
One student, Ashlyn Coleman, follows Bermosk’s advice in her own ways. She lives a very busy life on campus, participating in various clubs and organizations such as Resident Life, Student Government Association, Sigma Kappa, and more.
“Being by myself and doing something like painting my nails, helps me to not focus on that stuff,” Coleman said.
Another UF student, Holly McCoy, says that staying organized is her secret to getting through college in a pandemic. She uses various apps to keep track of her assignments and makes daily to-do lists. However, like Ashlyn Coleman, she agrees that setting time aside to relax is important, even if it’s for something simple.
“For me, I really like watching dumb shows on Netflix or listening to music, so I do that a lot,” McCoy said.
Bermosk wanted to make it clear that there are resources available to students that are struggling or in need of some self-care. She wants students to know that there are several upcoming “Make it, Take it” events put on by Counseling Services that will allow students to create something and take it home with them. She also mentioned that Counseling Services holds drop-in hours twice a week where students can log onto a Zoom call and have a consultation with one of the counselors.
Coleman has shown that time management is essential to her “getting through it”. She recommends that students try to stay cognizant of their limits. She describes time management as a skill that has to be built up and learned over time.
“If two things is all you can do, then stick with that and give 100% to that,” Coleman said. “Don’t spread yourself too thin.”
It’s been a year since a global pandemic turned college life upside down. Since last March, McCoy says she has embraced flexibility and adaptability. She says she understands that she can’t change the current situation, but she can control how she reacts to it.
“I can’t change what’s happening,” McCoy said. “If I can just make sure that I’m on top of things the best way possible and I’m taking care of myself, then that’s the best way to get through this.”
“We will get through this. We’re already getting through it,” Bermosk said. “People are resilient.”