Stress relief for students during stressful times

Stress is a widespread emotional problem among college students. Having to live without parents close by and taking vigorous classes can be quite draining. While a normal college experience would be stressful, students are now experiencing a whole new challenge with COVID-19.

The virus has caused several changes to occur within the community, including altered class sizes and the absence of in-person classes. Senior athlete Sonya Brunk shared her experience with these adjustments.

“I think that COVID-19 changes a lot of things with structure,” Brunk said. “In one of my classes, we have labs first in case something changes with COVID and we’re not allowed to be in labs anymore. So, that is stressful, and we have labs every day now.”

Another issue that students face is procrastination. Now that Guilford’s classes have shifted to primarily online, students often wait to complete (or start) assignments until the very last second of the deadline. Several Guilfordians commented on their struggles with procrastination.

“In the moment, when I decide to procrastinate, it feels better,” Brunk stated, “but about five minutes into procrastinating, I really get anxious because I know I should be doing the assignment, but I am not.”

“You can put all of your energy into that assignment if it is due the next day,” senior Tyler Patterson added. “You’re like grinding.”

Since the unknown of COVID-19 has been a common stressor within students’ everyday lives, it seemed appropriate to ask students if their stress levels would have been the same, higher or lower had the COVID-19 pandemic never occurred.

“I think that it would be less stressful maybe, but also more stressful,” junior Maya Pettway responded. “I don’t know. I have less to do now because there is nothing to do with COVID. But I don’t like Zoom classes. I have to worry about getting COVID.”

“I’m very stressed about sports because I play soccer here at Guilford and we’re trying to figure out practice times, schedules, and what is going to happen with a season,” Brunk added. “That stress would not be there if COVID did not happen.”

In general, students seem to be a lot more stressed during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the absence of the virus, students would have much more freedom to do their assignments while being able to spend time with their friends.

To control the worries caused by the virus, many students have come up with personal coping strategies.

“I like to clean, I like to paint my nails, I like to bake. Nothing where my mind can wonder,” said Pettway.

Patterson added his own stress relievers to the list: “Listening to music. Hanging with friends. Playing video games.”

No matter how they decide to de-stress, it is clear that all Guilford students sometimes need a break from the emotional toll that COVID-19 is taking on their everyday lives.