With the winter break approaching in a few days, Syracuse University students are busy studying for the final exams and submitting their theses and projects. The beginning of the semester, filled with soccer games and warm weather, contrasts with the drastic drop in temperature and the increase in workload at the end of the semester, which affects the mental health of many students.
Although there are wellness resources – including free counseling and fitness classes at the Barnes Center at The Arch – the winter season has made it difficult for many students to find motivation to even go outside when not needed.
The Thanksgiving break allowed students to take a much-needed break from the stress that the semester had recently begun with the interim semesters. But the break was also the official start of the finals for most of the students. Immediately after the interim semesters, students were bombarded with materials for final exams and professors’ projects. Personally, I took the word “break” literally and barely opened my computer at home.
This created an accumulation of work waiting for me when I returned to campus and my colleagues can attest to this. The semester is drawing to a close, the students are tackling the worst, but the finish line is so close. When they reach that finish line, the winter break is a crucial time for college students to focus on their mental health.
Once the December vacation begins, it will be the first time since August that many college students are not consumed by the combined stressors of class, work, study, and social life. COVID-19 has stressed students even more in the last few years of the pandemic. “This year the stress has increased as they tried to do their jobs in masked and detached classrooms … Students don’t want this break, they need this break,” wrote Vicki Nelson in an article in College Parent Central entitled ” Your Student Needs This ”. Time Over Winter Break ”in December last year. This statement applies after another year during the pandemic.
Receiving random emails that a nearby student tested positive for COVID-19 has become a regular occurrence for many. Random weekly test emails flood students’ inboxes. Staying safe from COVID-19 in college is a challenge and a new stress in itself.
Going home will be a well-deserved time for the students to avoid these worries. Living on a college campus, visiting dining rooms, and using shared bathrooms and other campus facilities make students more prone to contracting COVID-19. Being at home will relieve that stress.
Stress can lead to serious mental and physical health problems if ignored. Almost all college students report stress, especially during graduation week, but often insufficient attention is paid to mental health, possibly because everyone is under severe academic pressure. Long-term stress affects the body’s immune, digestive, and cardiovascular systems and can contribute to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
With a restart from the winter break, students can be prepared for new professors and a new workload. After having adjusted to their life situation and friends this year, the students can return to the campus in January with enthusiasm and readiness for the second semester.
This break is essential for students to take after the mental toll the graduation week takes on them. Relaxation, time with family and friends from home, and a complete mental reset will rejuvenate students before returning to campus.
Jean Aiello is a freshman magazine, majoring in news and digital journalism. Your column appears every two weeks. She can be reached at [email protected].
Posted on December 12, 2021 at 11:04 pm