College students look forward to indulging in spring break festivities every year.
COVID-19 has not only altered students’ social lives but has also been detrimental to their mental health. In retrospect, after losing a spring break in March 2020, students are still trying to understand why they will have another year without a spring break.
This semester, students are expected to dive into a 15-week semester while juggling their mental health and studies.
Due to the dismissal of spring break students have to continue instruction until April 23. Mental health is a potent factor to look out for during COVID-19. Studies have shown that college students see a drastic decline in their mental health during the spring semester compared to during the fall semester.
According to psychologist Shannon Torberg, “Feelings of calm arise from time away from work and relieve stress, which allows the body and mind to heal in ways that it couldn’t if it were still under pressure.”
Most students feel like not having a spring break will affect their mental health because of their coursework. Shaunyce Pittman, a general health science student at FAMU, can attest to the unwavering stress that a lengthy semester without breaks can cause — especially behind a computer screen.
“COVID-19 has increased internet usage tremendously and too much screen time is very tiring and draining,” said Pitman. “As well as being isolated, I do not think mental health will get any better without some form of therapy.”
FAMU has resources for students who may have a mental health crisis during these unprecedented times, such as Active Minds, an organization at FAMU centered on health and wellness. The vice president of Active Minds, Rachel Walker, saw an influx of students reach out to the organization since the pandemic.
“Active Minds has different tools and resources on our Instagram,” Walker said. “Due to the lack of an actual break, we will probably do a virtual spring break on the quad, which will provide facts and resources on how to stay safe during COVID-19 mentally and physically.”
FAMU’s new Center for Access and Student Success facility is now the home to the offices of counseling centers that students can use as an outlet anytime. Though students were looking forward to spring break, it is important to continue to use resources that are beneficial to their health by monitoring themselves throughout the semester. Mental health was challenging before COVID-19, and it is an even bigger challenge now.
For tips on how to maintain your mental health, follow @FAMUactiveminds on Instagram.