‘A New Way of Life’: Returning to College During COVID-19

As the fall semester quickly approaches, college students in the U.S. may feel a mix of emotions while trying to determine how to socialize, handle changing academic formats, and prioritize their mental health. College is already a demanding time for students, and the coronavirus pandemic has been a new and unexpected stressor since the spring.

According to a 2020 study, college students reported increased anxiety and depression during the onset of COVID-19 compared to similar time frames in past academic years.

“This is not an event to tweak, it’s a new way of life to create,” says Kevin Gilliland, Psy.D., executive director of Innovation360, an outpatient counseling service in Dallas, TX. “Be mindful that there is a bug out there and you need to take appropriate precautions—socially distance, wash your hands, and sanitize the surfaces—but you absolutely can have friendships and experiences and learning opportunities that are wonderful.”

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