The Corona pandemic has affected the daily activities of many people, students among them. They feel in the dark, not knowing what’s ahead, fighting with anxiety and stress.
While some have decided to stay in their home away at school, others have made their way home to their family. “It was really hard to be happy and not to worry if you’re all the time alone in your apartment,” says Zoé who is studying Communications in her fourth semester in The Netherlands. “So, when we were told that the university was closing its doors, I decided to move back to Luxembourg.” While her little sister was happy to have her back at their parent’s house, Zoé was still hoping that university would open again shortly. Still, she wasn’t aware that she wouldn’t be able to return any time soon.
Pia, a first-year law student was doing her gap year when Covid broke out. In September, she still decided to move next to her university in The Hague. “It was important for me to make a cut, and moving to the Hague helped me realize that I am not actually studying. I did not want to stay in my room at my parents’ house and sit in front of my laptop.”
During the pandemic, Pia developed a fear of being alone. So she decided to move in with five other roommates into a big house with a garden located close to her university. However, after living in the Netherlands for more than six months, she struggles with the fact that she has not been able to meet new people besides her roommates. She is slowly losing hope for a normal student life.
Zoé talks about a similar experience. “I already suffered from anxiety before the pandemic. But since university moved online and I am back home, it got much worse.” She talks about the lack of social interaction and the increased conflicts with her parents. “My mother does not really believe in Corona, so she does not wash her hands, for example, which really triggers my anxiety. My heart beats fast, my breathing becomes hectic, my chest contracts. I get this tightness in my chest, I start to sweat, my body tingles, my arms and legs are shaking, and I can no longer think clearly,” Zoé explains.
Recent studies indicate that students who spend time in the classroom report lower rates of stress and worry than their online peers.
“I figured meditation and sports have helped me a lot to free my mind again, reducing both stress and anxiety,” Zoé says. Meanwhile, Pia compliments her roommates: “I didn’t know anyone when I moved in, but we quickly became a family. We are all in the same boat. When we sit together in the evening with a glass of wine, we talk about our feelings, always supporting each other.”