Written by: Poulose Belelegne, Derek Brown, Isaac Nair, Isaac Park, Madison Simon
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has not been easy for anybody. For colleges and universities, the pandemic brought new challenges that students have never faced before. The life of a college student is already stressful, but the drastic and sudden lifestyle change from in-person classes to online learning from home presented new challenges that amplified students’ stress and anxiety. A lot of these challenges include feeling a lack of sense of connection with their peers and professors, as well as time management and the merging of academic spaces with personal spaces.
As a result of increasing rates of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and death, Governor Jay Inslee issued a proclamation on March 23, 2020 “Stay Home – Stay Healthy.” With this proclamation, in-person instructions for schools were prohibited and shifted to remote learning.
Back in March, University of Washington Bothell students transitioned from in-class learning to online remote learning.
It is now Fall, and with several extensions to the order, there is no significant change that could suggest in-person learning to resume any time soon. Students at UW Bothell, have been substantially affected by the shift, and while it is pertinent to stay physically healthy, staying home has played a mental toll on students.
There are ways in which UW Bothell and many other colleges across the country are trying to help with student’s struggles. UW Bothell offers free and confidential counseling services with clinical staff that includes counselors who are licensed mental health professionals and provide a broad range of treatment approaches, depending on the unique needs of each person.
Dr. Lillian Chen is a Licensed Psychologist in Washington State and has been lending a hand to UW Bothell students throughout the pandemic and following lockdowns. Chen specializes in stress, anxiety, depression, identity exploration, and life transition. Also, because of her bicultural background, she offers bilingual counseling, English and Mandarin, and has expertise working with Asian and international students. She has adapted her counseling session to online meetings via Zoom during the pandemic.
She recommends connecting Zoom social hours with different things to do together so that there’s still a sense of community and other things so very basic as far as how we manage our stress. These include self-care, sleeping, eating well, and doing daily physical activities.
“Students share that with online classes, it’s harder to stay focused as there might be a lot of distractions in life. So one way to cope with that is to figure out how we can minimize that distraction when we’re doing schoolwork with online classes. Creating a workspace that’s separate from your daily leisure and from work can be really helpful. Ideally, if you have a private room with a door that would be helpful or when people are working.”Dr. Lillian Chen
However, this has not been a possibility for many students that are either living on campus with no private space or those that had to move back home to a space with their family.
Dr. Chen also detailed how procrastination has affected many of the students that have come to her for counseling since the typical structure of a school day, work, and then home has mixed together. She states that setting a daily routine, when class is, time for homework, work, and also scheduling relaxation time. Doing so will bring a more positive work-life balance.
Lian Arnst, a senior at the University of Washington Bothell, was asked some questions regarding remote online learning due to coronavirus. She stated that “I had to adjust my learning style.”
Arnst also stated that “socially over time it has gotten harder, none of my friends are around so it gets difficult to maintain relationships and maintain that connection that you have pretty easily in person.”
Mitchell Harman is a Junior majoring in Computer Science which is a relatively hands-on field and this is his first time taking online courses. When asked about the shift from in-person to remote learning he had mixed emotions.
“It depends on the subject matter and complexity of the class. I find online learning to be more time-efficient but sometimes I struggle based on the homework/material. I took a math class where the homework did not really make sense and then the professor was booked online for a week.” he said.
Work-life balance is essential for mental health to create a sense of regularity during these times. “My mental health varies day per day. Some days I feel like I am in control and other days things are very difficult.” Harman juggles both working from home and taking online classes.
“To manage my work time balance, I try to establish a routine with my girlfriend. My girlfriend still has to work in-person, so I follow her job schedule to establish normalcy,” he explains. In his free time, he also has been riding his mountain bike, playing with his cats, and video games.
In recent times because of coronavirus, education has taken a turn to online learning. Online learning comes with both positive and negative implications. “Taking classes on zoom has made it really difficult to learn as opposed to in-class learning”
The #1 priority of the UW Bothell is the safety of students, faculty, and staff. On the official UW Bothell website, they have a dedicated page to coronavirus and resources, which is updated when new information becomes available.
This page details the Husky Coronavirus Testing program, which is a research study including daily health attestations and, as needed, self-administered testing via free kits delivered to your home, you can Enroll here!, building hours that have changed during remote operations, certain requirements employees must meet before coming to campus, and updated child care resources for UW employees.
These resources include learning, teaching, working remotely, and health and wellbeing. Through the learning option, you can find resources that will add to your success, such as technical assistance, tutoring centers, career guidance, counseling services, and financial aid.
Through teaching, you can discover the latest in technology, best practices, and how civic engagement and community-based learning and research can continue to enrich your students’ remote experiences.
Through working remotely, you can learn the latest on back-to-campus plans, get help as you need it, and stay connected to campus. The health and wellbeing section details resources to support health and well-being, including self-care tips, counseling services, remote work setups, and coronavirus-related information.
There are many other resources that can be found here!