Reviews | Lack of separation between school and social life is costing students their mental health | Opinion

The lines between academic and social life at JMU are becoming increasingly blurred as classes shift between in-person and online. The potential for burnout is higher than ever, and JMU’s resources aren’t doing enough for students.

With the transition from fully online learning to asynchronous and in-person classes over the past year, it seems more and more students are facing more classroom work from home on top of their schedule. usual course. In these cases, there is no separation between the work they do in class and at home. Without a proper separation between university life and family life, the two can start to mix, making it harder to balance.

The average student is enrolled in 12 credit hours per semester, with each course totaling up to three hours per week and approximately 10 hours spent outside of class reading and doing homework for each individual class. According to the Wexner Medical Center, only 40% of students said they felt burnt out in 2020, but in 2021 that figure rose to 71%.

This increase is completely understandable. Stress from school, extracurricular activities, work, and personal life in addition to ever-changing COVID-19 guidelines is causing difficulty with school-life balanceAccording to Active Minds, an online mental health forum for students, 80% of students surveyed cited difficulty concentrating on school at home.

Senior Camila Maric shared her experience of COVID-19 anxiety in the classroom.

“I’m much more introverted than before the pandemic; I keep a lot more to myself because I’m afraid of being exposed to [COVID-19]”, said Maric. “After spending almost two years online and little performance in person as an underclass, it made me much more eager to play.

The constant switching between in-person and online classes has resulted in several negative impacts on students. According to the same study, 74% of students have struggled to maintain a routine throughout the pandemic, and the endless stress surrounding the uncertainty of in-person classes only adds to the lack of routine.

There is no doubt that the pandemic has taken a toll on student mental health, and at an age when students should be finding out who they are and what they are passionate about, this can be extremely discouraging. College should be about academics, but it should also be about learning to live on your own and making lasting connections. It should be a time to explore and have fun, but due to the pandemic, many students feel like there is nothing to pursue outside of school.

JMU has mental health resources available to students, but the counseling center often provides referrals to outside therapists and can be quickly booked. His website even describes the available sessions as “brief” due to high demand, which is a sign that there need to be more mental health resources on campus. After three to five sessions, students are usually referred to an outside practitioner, which means students must pay out of pocket for mental health resources.

JMU needs to address the mental toll the pandemic has taken on students and provide better help to struggling students. The resources available to them are not sufficient to deal with the rise in mental health issues as the pandemic continues to change what ‘normal’ really is.

The advice center did not provide a response by the print deadline when contacted by The Breeze via email.

Annie McGowan is a sophomore in Media Arts majoring in Art Science. Contact Annie at [email protected] For more editorials regarding the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the Opinion Bureau on Instagram and Twitter @Breeze_Opinion.

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