William Paul Ellis | Staff Writer
While one’s younger years are not usually a time full of stress, the current health crisis has changed that, and teenagers and young adults around the world are struggling. The pandemic has raised stress factors such as uncertainty about the future, financial hardships, and safety concerns.
Sixty-three percent of 18-to-24-year old’s have reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, 25 percent of those admit to increased substance use, and 25 percent reported that they have seriously considered suicide, according to the CDC.
Hampton’s campus has been closed to students since March 2020. Many students complain that they are struggling with online learning and an altered college experience.
Freshman Hampton students who have never lived on campus feel as if they have not had a real college experience.
“The pandemic has had a huge effect on the class of 2024’s social life. We lack a class bond as most of us have never met in person,” said Oluade Swan, a freshman strategic communications major. “It feels as if stepping on campus has become a far-fetched dream.”
Senior Hampton students are struggling in accepting the fact that their time in college will not end traditionally. 100 days, a Hampton tradition, and a graduation ceremony are just some of the thing’s seniors are not experiencing as usual.
“I’ve been waiting for the moment I would become a senior in college,” says Reana Garcia, a senior biology major. “I am sad not only because the end is near but because of all the different events that would take place. I’ve been robbed of that experience and can never get it back.”
College students of color have been more vulnerable to the negative effects of the pandemic as college attendance among Black students dropped 8 percent during the summer of 2020, compared to 2019, according to the first “Stay Informed” report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
Additionally, 80 percent of college students reported that COVID-19 had negatively affected their mental health.
While it is a stressful and anxious time, many students are choosing to be positive and make the best of their current situation. Students look forward to being able to step back on Hampton’s campus in the fall and feel some type of normalcy.
“This pandemic has made me realize that I should never take life for granted. My college experience has been delayed but it’s taught me that good things may take time. I cannot wait to meet my classmates in the fall,” says Janiya Pearson, freshman class President.