• Sydnie Balcer

One year after pandemic hit: How SWOSU students still struggle with COVID-19

Updated: Apr 6

Photo: Adrian Swancar / Unsplash

By Sydnie Balcer

For The Southwestern

Leeannah Nguyen is listening attentively to her professor’s lecture via a Zoom meeting and taking notes. Suddenly, the professor’s microphone cuts out, and she does not have a classmate next to her to ask what she missed.

After the microphone returns to working, she finds herself scrambling to catch up with the lecture and to figure out what information she missed that could be on one of her future exams.

Nguyen is a junior nursing student at SWOSU who began her nursing education as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. She is one of many students who has been struggling with classes during the pandemic.

“Professors lecture by being in one of the classrooms and use Zoom to connect to the other classroom,” Nguyen said. “Sometimes the microphone cuts out and we miss parts of the lecture. Overall, COVID-19 has impacted the quality and quantity of our learning experience.”

SWOSU Counselor Kimberly Quintero said she has noticed the negative effects the pandemic has had on college students, especially students who are new on campus.

“They’re just not connecting as well as they would have,” Quintero said. “It hasn’t given a lot of them a true sense of what college life is.”

Quintero also said anxiety during the pandemic has been through the roof.

According to “Effect of COVID-19 on College Students’ Mental Health in the United States: Interview Survey Study,”which surveyed 195 college students, “138 (71%) indicated increased stress and anxiety due to the COVID-19 outbreak.” Reasons included: concern for their own and their loved ones’ health, difficulty concentrating, raised concerns with academic performance, and disrupted sleep patterns.

Quintero said she did a lot of virtual counseling in the fall 2020 semester, and she did not believe it was as effective as in-person meetings due to distractions and dorms causing privacy issues for students that prevented them from comfortably and openly speaking with her.

Quintero has returned to having in-person counseling sessions this semester, and she said that she is hopeful students will transition well into what life was like before COVID again.

Nguyen is one of many students who is ready for in-person classes to fully resume.

“Due to restrictions, I feel like I do not know a lot of the nursing students in my class,” Nguyen said. “Nursing school is rough, so having a good support system in the program makes it better.”

Nguyen said she is also excited for things to return to normal so patients in long-term healthcare facilities can see their families again and so people will not have to wear masks so much.

“While I support masks to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Nguyen said, “I will not miss the struggle of finding a mask every time I want to step out somewhere.”

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