New COVID Policies Rise Up Senior’s Mental Health

New COVID Policies Rise Up Seniors Mental Health

Seniors are preparing themselves for their last year at Mercy while experiencing one of their weirdest semesters yet. The COVID pandemic has resulted in increased loneliness, stress, anxiety, and depression.

While conditions have improved, the global pandemic isn’t over yet.  

Seniors Lilandra Turull and Steven Villarraga both spoke about their struggles at Mercy since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

I started the semester feeling drained when I’m usually really excited for classes to start, I find myself forcing myself to get things done but before it was easy,” Turull stated.

“I can feel myself sinking into some sort of depression and it’s been an uphill battle.”

Turull stated that though she is okay with Zoom classes and actually looks forward to them, she does have hopes for non-virtual graduation. 

“Coronavirus put my entire career on hold and the last thing I want is to lose something I’ve been looking forward to for so long,” Turull stated. 

According to online sources, the COVID-19 pandemic is putting significant stress on students, many of whom are worried about increasing financial pressures caused by the pandemic and the lack of easily accessible mental health care. 

A survey on the Healthy Minds Network shows that more than 18,000 college students on 14 campuses, found the rate of depression among college students has increased since the start of the pandemic. 

Turull spoke on her mental health with all things being virtual, “There’s such a lack in communication now, so many more awkward silences, and no social interaction.”

“It’s weird and it only furthers the demise of my mental health,” Turull stated that between COVID-19 losses and not being able to see her friends as often can be draining. “When you have to turn on your computer and stare at a screen for three hours where barely anyone is talking, it just emphasizes a feeling of loneliness.” 

Turull stated that she copes by meditating every now and then, spending time with her friends, and doing interior decorating.  

Villarraga believes that cases will spike up and because of that, he would prefer virtual graduation. 

Villarraga stated that although his mental state has been fine it’s a lot harder for him to stay focused. 

“I feel like I have a lot more time on my hands because I’m furloughed from work so I dedicate most of my time to homework, studying, and doing home workouts,” Villarraga stated. 

Villaraga stated that due to COVID-19 and facilities limiting the number of people in the offices, his internship opportunity was almost denied. “Multiple limitations facilities are carried out, but it’s understandable, it put more pressure on me though,” Villaraga said. 

PACT advisor, Eric Morales, gave some advice to seniors who may be struggling due to COVID precautions. 

“With everything going on, my advice would be to try to revert back to normal tendencies, both in and out of school.” 

This can mean hanging with friends, safely and socially distant if possible, pursuing hobbies, studying for classes, and trying new things. 

Mercy College has been taking safety precautions to make sure that students and staff are healthy and safe. Everyone must fill out a COVID-19 screening assessment before walking into any Mercy building, along with having their temperatures taken before entering any shuttle buses. 

There are sanitization stations located in every hall and sanitizing wipes in every room to make students feel safer. Everyone must wear a mask and social distance, classrooms are now limited to at least 10 students. PACT Mentors and other advisors advise that students book Zoom or phone appointments. Though students can meet with their pact mentors, they must be in a separate room where both people are at six feet distance.  

Morales believes that it’s a great time to research any other hobbies or events one didn’t have time for or weren’t able to do before the pandemic started. 

“I believe that trying to get some normalcy is the best way to cope, especially with classes being open again. When we left last spring it was a rough transition for most of us but we have to try to get back to how our lives were beforehand,” Morales stated. 

Morales said that for those whose mental health isn’t in the best headspace, they can make an appointment with Mercy’s counseling center, speak to a friend or even a professor. 

“I truly believe that having a person to go to who you can vent to, or is a shoulder you can cry on, can be such a cleanser and is sometimes the thing you need to get yourself back up and on your way to conquering the world.”