GV students seek solutions to stress as campus, country undergo post-COVID transition


GVL / Bethann Long

Chloe Schram, Staff Writer

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges and universities are back on track to facilitating what were once normal activities and atmospheres.

However, for many, the chaos, stress and frustration wrought upon the U.S. and the world have left a lasting impact and are only exacerbated by a shift back to typical schedules and responsibilities.

Stress can be difficult to manage for any college student, but the addition of a global pandemic infiltrating the lives of many people has added immensely to the pressure.

In fact, according to recent data compiled by the American Institute of Stress, eight in 10 college students experience recurring episodes of high stress.

COVID-19 changed daily schedules for many college students and forced them to learn new ways to stay organized and manage their stress.

Students at Grand Valley State University have different ways of managing such stress in their environment. These methods may range from using a calendar, staying active or doing self-care activities.

“I use my google calendar to ensure I am staying on top of things,” said GVSU freshman Brynn Buschle.

Buschle said that at the beginning of the pandemic, having school online forced her to stay organized in order to avoid stress. This year, she is able to avoid the stress that comes with online school, but still must manage the stress university-level classes bring to the table.

“Balancing schoolwork with extracurricular activities I enjoy can be difficult, but I’ve learned to reward myself by doing things I enjoy after a long day of school to manage my stress,” Buschle said.

Academics remain a top priority for students like Buschle. However, making sure to also incorporate daily activities that make students happy can produce benefits relating to managing stress and coping with the challenges that college may bring.

For students like GVSU junior Dunya Kizy, it is important to take periodic breaks from schoolwork in order to take care of oneself.

“I go to therapy and work out to manage my stress,” said Kizy.

Talking to a professional about mental health issues and staying physically active, experts determine, are both great ways to manage stress in college.

According to the American Heart Association, being more active also helps relieve stress. Even a short walk outside or a quick workout can ultimately help students feel better mentally and physically after a hard day of classes.

“Before COVID, I usually never went to the gym,” Kizy said. “Once the pandemic began, I used working out as an outlet to escape and manage my stress.”

Staying active and moving one’s body often will not only help relieve stress and improve mood, but it could also help improve quality of sleep.

Sleeping well at night can be difficult for many college students, especially when they are under a lot of stress, which is another way staying active benefits busy students.

Staying active can help clear one’s mind and help them find an outlet during difficult school days, similar to how it does for students like Kizy.

In addition to such holistic methods, students who feel they are experiencing negative mental health effects related to stress, depression or other concerns can access services offered by the University Counseling Center to determine the right course of action.