COVID-19 Takes a Toll on Students’ Mental Health


Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

Sarah Tomczyk, Staff Writer

Since Monday, March 23, all of AIC’s students, faculty, and staff have transitioned into remote learning. This pandemic has affected a tremendous number of students, but it has also affected their mental health. Second-year Kristin Bakke, second-year Michael Carlin, and first-year Rose McCaffrey spoke about how the pandemic has affected them.

Being stuck in quarantine and practicing social distancing has been very difficult for students. The change from going to class in-person to looking through a screen at home has been difficult for everyone involved, not just at American International College, but throughout all the colleges and universities in the United States of America, and around the world.

In order to adhere to safe social distancing advisories during their exodus from campus, AIC students had to book three-hour slots during which they had to pack up all their items and say goodbye to their dorms for the semester. Teachers had to change their syllabi. Both students and professors had to learn how to use the app Zoom and get used to online learning.

Kristin Bakke was one of hundreds who had to move out of her dorm and go back home. For her, that meant returning to a full house with her parents, two siblings, two dogs, and one cat.

According to Bakke, “The [emotional] environment depends on the day. When it’s cold, it’s more depressing and no one has the motivation to do anything. If it’s nice, then it’s more upbeat because we can use the back deck to sit outside or go for walks with the dogs.”

Carlin stated, “I also go on walks. Getting outside of the house and getting fresh air…helps [put] my mind at ease.”

Carlin had to move back home with five other family members.

McCaffrey, who lives with her parents and her dog, expressed how hard it can be to work under these conditions. “I’m trying to stay away from the news and work out more because it decreases my worries about the whole thing. I do find it hard to stay motivated though, because all I want to do is lay in bed.”

The National Institute of Health reminds us that physical activity is linked to improved mental health. But with plenty of schoolwork still to do, it can be hard to get out and move around.

At home, McCaffrey stated, “We are all busy doing work. I’m usually online for between six to eight hours a day doing school, and the same with my mom.”

Being stuck inside with your family all the time can be a strain.

According to Carlin, “My family and I are alright as of now, but we are getting close to where we want to rip each other’s heads off because of how much we are always together.”

Bakke stated, “Mentally, I’m okay. It’s frustrating not being able to go anywhere or do anything, but I am handling it in appropriate ways. Luckily, I don’t have a rough home life, so I don’t struggle as much.”

McCaffrey said she too is lucky enough to be in a positive home situation. “I’ve been okay so far.”

During these perplexing times, McCaffrey has recommended to “…keep busy. I know it’s really hard right now, but the more active you are, the better. Don’t watch the news. And never be afraid to reach out if you need someone to talk to.”

Carlin has similarly found it hard to focus on the news. “I have mentally checked out, and I play a lot of video games and use Netflix Party.”

Bakke stated, “Some of the things that I’m doing to distract myself are homework and schoolwork, reading, coloring, Netflix, working out. I also write in my journal if I’m having a tough time.”

If you are a student and in need of a distraction, you can go on, and, or follow @aicengagement on Instagram to see future online events to ease your mind from this pandemic, including the upcoming virtual spring weekend!

AIC Student Life
Virtual Spring Weekend events are sure to get you engaged!