Due to COVID-19, Valpo has made adjustments to fulfill precautions and to keep the campus as safe as possible. Students and faculty have been taking the measures of wearing a mask and maintaining a 6 foot distance from others in public. However, the semester has been condensed and shortened in hopes to limit travel of our community.
Molly Fisher and Victoria Cammarano, sophomore health science majors, speak out about how their mental health has been affected due to a condensed semester.
According to Fisher, the lack of breaks has made the semester more stressful.
“There’s no breaks built in, and that makes it really hard and stressful on students especially when they're already struggling with mental health,” Fisher said. “I would say having exams back to back gives more anxiety and stress on students because we also have to do well in our performance.”
The endless cycle of cramming for exams and homework has also amplified a time crunch between each task for students. However, Fisher said that taking care of yourself and your mental health can help recollect your thoughts and tasks while you feel stressed during a condensed semester.
“I've definitely been taking little moments for myself, like at least five minutes a day to do some self-reflection or to do something that I really enjoy, so like reading a book… and taking more mental breaks. And also just knowing when it’s okay to stop and not overdo,” Fisher said.
Without breaks, students have been on campus for 12 weeks with no fall break or extended weekends. This can leave students feeling overworked and exhausted during this entire semester.
“The stress of the semester and the fact that there is no break puts a lot of pressure on students,” Cammarano said. “Not having breaks has definitely made it more stressful and impacted me negatively.”
Cammarano also discussed her struggles in mental and physical health this semester. When you compare and contrast this year and others, it shows how overstimulated students can feel this year opposed to previous semesters.
“Specially, I struggle with disordered eating and so having a condensed semester has really amplified that because it all feels out of control. It has definitely put pressure on me this semester as opposed to the last two semesters,” Cammarano said.
However, Cammarano does suggest that there are strategies to help mitigate some of the stress.
“Journaling definitely helps me, especially if I'm having a bad day. I make sure that I recognize that and journaling helps me decide how I can move forward,” Cammarano said. “With a condensed semester, I am always thinking about the next deadline… so meditation also helps me clear my head.”