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How the Pandemic Has Increased Students’ Stress Levels

Sep 22 , 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a very large impact on the planet and brought many challenges. People started dealing with a situation they never encountered before, others were losing their jobs and, on top of that, most individuals had to stay isolated, with limited access to the outdoors. As a result, not only have people been affected financially, but also emotionally. Students represent one of the groups that were most affected by the pandemic.

It’s not uncommon for students to be stressed regarding projects and exams, but the pandemic made everything worse. Some have started looking for ways to cope with stress and anxiety. These include seeking social support, limiting media consumption, finding a way to focus, and even trying organic CBD oil, as CBD can help with anxiety. But how exactly did the pandemic increase the stress levels of so many students? 

A Lot of Uncertainty

While the world of education has shifted to online learning, for the most part, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding education and what will happen to students. Things have been moving in the past months and there is a solution for now, but it’s hard to know what will happen in the future and how long it will take until things go back to normal. 

This adds to the stress level of students because they don’t know how their college experience will feel moving forward. Remote learning, combined with campus closures and everything else makes them feel uncertain about the academic future they will face, and this is a source of stress and anxiety. 

“I would do anything for things to go back to normal. My school is giving too much work even though times are tough for everyone,” said a 10th grader in a survey done by Challenge Success and NBC News. “At first, this was just a break from school, but now all I feel is stress, anxiety, and pain.”

No Social Support

Some look at the pandemic and restrictions as a blessing, or as a paradise for introverts. There is no need to socialize or see other people, and to some, this is an ideal way of life. But students suffer a lot during these times, and it is exactly because they are being cut off from the rest of the world. They cannot meet their teachers and campus friends anymore and talking to them online doesn’t feel the same. On top of that, social gatherings have been restricted for the most part, and there have been some physical distancing measures that were mandatory. 

Students were already dealing with stress and mental health problems even before the pandemic, as data collected in 2019 shows. More than 50% of students suffered from depression, which didn’t allow them to function properly, while 16% considered committing suicide and 70% felt some severe anxiety. Now that they are isolated, worried, and uncertain about their future and finances, the situation is even worse. 

What was also discovered through some studies is that men and women dealt with the pandemic in different ways. Women were in a higher number when it came to using social media as a coping mechanism. Not to mention that a lot of men have been using cannabis as a coping mechanism, which made them more stressed and even negatively affected their schoolwork. Many students have actually reported how the pandemic is affecting their mental health, and some admitted to using cannabis and alcohol to cope with it. 

Too Much Homework and Less Sleep

If students hated homework in the past, they surely resent it even more now. Some teachers give more homework than before, which has added more stress for students. “Because the school day has been shortened, teachers feel that it is okay to increase the workload because it seems like we have more time,” said another 10th grader. “My more ‘essential’ classes give us 30-minute videos to learn concepts on our own, in addition to the nightly homework.”

And while this may seem weird, students get less sleep during the pandemic. Only 6.6% of students get 9 hours of sleep every night, with 43% mentioned getting less sleep per night since the start of the pandemic. 5% declared getting 4 hours or less every night. This is also one of the top sources of stress for students. 

Final Thoughts

Uncertainty for the future, numerous worries regarding their finances and grades, as well as various health problems have affected students. They have too much work to do and operate on less sleep, increasing their stress levels. Hopefully, mental health assistance will be offered to help students cope with these trying times.