How are Drake Students Faring One Year After COVID-19 Turned the World Upside Down?
COVID-19 has left a lasting impact on Drake University students, leading them to seek solace in unique places during the pandemic after quarantine negatively impacted mental health.
It has been over a year since the pandemic closed schools and forced the world into mass shutdowns and quarantines. Now, as America stands on the cusp of herd vaccinations and the hope of normalcy, the desire for freedom contains underlying questions of, “What is the new normal?”
At the beginning of quarantine, there were self-improvement posts and videos to guide people through the process of bettering themselves. Not yet knowing that quarantine and social distancing was going to still be prevalent a year later, there was an emphasis on mental health and positivity. For many Drake University students, subscribing to this idea was easier said than done.
“I think I speak for everyone when I say that the pandemic and quarantine has affected my mental health, as well as my outlook on life,” said Alyssa Overlin, a first-year pharmacy student. “Personally, this pandemic has been an emotional roller coaster. In the beginning, things went downhill pretty quickly. It felt like I had to put my life on hold, and my mental health definitely took a toll in the early pandemic months.”
She said she felt alone in those dark days of quarantine, and she was not the only person whose mental health was negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Meghan Newman, a sophomore multimedia journalism major, said that the pandemic was detrimental to her mental health.
“I’ve struggled with feeling isolated and depressed, and I actually had to start seeing a therapist early on in quarantine,” Newman said. “I think I always have had mental health issues and the pandemic exaggerated them and made them a much bigger issue than they were before.”
Because of the negative emotions brought upon by COVID-19, many people attempted to find comfort in new things, while others found enjoyment in things they had liked in years prior.
For Newman, she was able to find comfort through therapy.
“It’s made me feel a lot better talking to other people who have gone through similar experiences and knowing I’m not the only person struggling,” Newman said.
First-year Chloe McGrath said she found that music and newly adopted self-care routines helped her through the worst of quarantine.
“I felt super alone and dejected during the pandemic and being in quarantine,” McGrath said. “Listening to music and taking some time to work on myself were really helpful when things got particularly rough.”
In the past year, Overlin said she decided to work on her mental health by trying new things, like weightlifting.
“It’s a good way to just step away with my thoughts,” Overlin said. “I also have found it really helpful to have my friends in my corner to lean on when I’m feeling down. Everyone has bad days, and we all need a little help from the people we love sometimes.”
Though the days of masks and social distancing are not yet over, the past year has taught the world new and exciting ways to stay connected with themselves and others.
Drake University’s community was not spared by the virus, but students have made a valiant effort to persevere through event cancellations, missed opportunities and abandoned expectations.