By SHIRLEY ALVAREZ
Meriam Rezika, 21, an Early Childhood Education student at Touro College, complains that college has been more challenging and more depressing his semester.
“I knew it was going to be hard. I didn’t know I was going to be crying at 4 a.m. thinking I had chosen the wrong major,” said Rezika.
Covid-19 took college stress to a high level. With online classes and some educational limitations, many students are falling into depression.
Rezika said that the waves of doubt made her feel like she was falling behind in life and had to push herself to move on: “I was thinking ‘what am I going to do with my life? I can’t just start another career… I’ve already paid so much.”
Psychologist Irian Herrera, who in times of Covid-19 provides her services through her Instagram account, tries to help people grapple with such feelings of inadequacy.
“Human beings, even before birth, are already subject to social norms that we must comply with to be well, both with society and with ourselves,” said Herrera.
Rezika conjectured that social media negatively affected her emotions
“When you see all the people your age making money out of dancing videos on TikTok, and you’re just at home crying because you can’t do homework, it’s depressing” she said. ‘I’ve cried many timeS.”
The psychologist analyzed her comments.
Often, she opined, we feel in competition with others.
‘We are always comparing our achievements with people on social networks, which are often superficial achievements,” she pointe out. “From the moment we abide by what other people believe or think, we are losing part of our essence. Failures are often seen as a waste of time, lack of ability, someone lacking experience, However, from the perspective of someone positive, with their own criteria, this becomes part of their learning.”
Rezika has felt that the pandemic has led her to lose many opportunities, which are damaging her future,
”I know I am not the only one, but I lost a job in a school because the school was closed due to the pandemic,” said Rezika. “I was excited about the job, then I got so tight, and I honestly thought I wasn’t doing anything with my life.”
Other students around the world, have had similar bouts of “college depression.”
Biaka Fiorella Hernandez, 24, mother of two and a business administration student said that the online schooling was driving her crazy.
“It’s harder for me, taking care of my children, being a student… Sometimes I want to give up,” she said. Hernández believes that education in a third world country is more complicated but still does not minimize the struggles of people in the United States. “With power outages and sometimes not being able to use Wi-Fi. I think it makes online education more difficult here than there, [US],” Hernandez said.
Herrera brands this fear of failure, also known as atychiphobia. And how, during this pandemic, people are more exposed to it. “It is a phobia that deserves to return to the past since it must be analyzed<“ she said. “What was the event that marked your life to have that constant fear that you will always fail? The environment in which one develops influences either directly or indirectly in your decisions.”
She continue: “In childhood, many children grow up surrounded by pressure and especially with adults who forget that they were once children.”
Rezika and Hernandez both have tried many things to overcome their stress and depression during these difficult times, but not much seems to work.
“Sometimes, I listen to inspirational Ted-talks,” said Rezika.”They make me feel good for like an hour, and then I go back to feeling worthless. I try to understand we are facing hard times, but things like feeding your children and the need for education to succeed stays the same, and it’s tough to see the positive side.”
Herrera said she understands that perhaps activities that we used to do before to distract and de-stress ourselves, such as going out with your friends, were not as feasible now.
”Covid completely transformed that routine that already existed,” she said. “People who lost their jobs, students who depend on their parents, the whole environment of moving from one place to another, stopped.”
Herrera recommends activities around the house and things that can help us control stress and college depression from home. Mediate, and concentrate in the present. “We punish ourselves by wanting to think ahead, and we don’t enjoy the present,” said Herrera.
She also recommends talking to friends through text messages and video calls.
“Facetime, Skype, and all these other apps are still available. We can talk to friends, even watch movies with friends through apps like Netflix Party. We need to use these things to our advantage.”
Most importantly, we need to remember that we are more than good grades and social media posts. “In the middle of the rush,” she concluded, “we are thinking more about the superficial and forgetting that we are ‘Souls’.Our interior does not have a space to reflect, to breathe, to meditate.”