Halfway through the semester, students have said being back in-person helped them with their academics and mental health.
Chloe Bontreger, a 19-year-old IU sophomore, said that in-person classes improved her learning progress from last year.
“In-person classes have helped me become more of an extrovert,” Bontreger said. “COVID really puts me in a stay-at-home-all-the-time kind of mood. But I think being in person benefited a lot because I feel like I’m learning a lot more than I did last semester.”
Bontreger said her experience with in-person classes was intimidating, but she endured her first in-person exam and is feeling normal again.
“To wrap it up in one word, terrifying,” she said. “And that was definitely scary, the test anxiety was definitely there, but after the first few, I think it's gotten back to normal where I’m used to them again.”
Yasmine Booker, an 18-year-old IU freshman, said she hasn't been in-person in over a year so being expected to be in a classroom is refreshing. She said an advantage of in-person classes is she can receive help immediately from her professor.
“I haven’t been in a classroom in over a year,” Booker said. “So having a professor and being expected to be in a classroom with so many people at a time, it's definitely been interesting.”
More than 40% of college students have felt more than an average amount of stress within the past 12 months, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Imani Kigamwa, a missionary intern at Chi Alpha, graduated from IU Bloomington with a bachelor’s degree in environmental health. She described some of the factors that may cause stress and anxiety for students at IU.
“Meeting new people may cause stress and anxiety because students are feeling the residual effects of COVID and trying to figure out how to be social again,” Kigamwa said. “Also, not being close to home for a lot of people is tough, especially after being at home for so long.”
To avoid a lot of workload stress, Booker focused on how many classes she would take so she didn’t overwhelm herself for her first college semester.
“I wouldn't call it super heavy and that's kind of by design,” she said. “I made sure I wasn’t enrolled in too many classes so that I could adjust from high school to college.”
Bontreger reduces her stress and anxiety by joining clubs and watching television to relax and escape reality.
She joined the IU equestrian team because riding horses and visiting the barn helps her get her mind off things, Bontreger said. She also enjoys laying in bed or on the couch watching a movie or a television show.
Kigamwa said she believes meeting people and creating a support system for yourself is important. She said it's especially critical after being in isolation this past semester.
“Find people you can spend time with outside of class and outside of your regular day routine,” Kigamwa said. “That's huge because that's your support system. Some people try working out, eating right, and other stuff and trying not to self-isolate because we’ve been isolated for so long.”
Bontreger said despite being drained from taking midterms, she is feeling well. She expressed this semester is better than last and in-person classes have helped a lot.
“Feeling pretty good, a little drained,” she said. “Last week was a little rough because of midterms and everything. But overall pretty good, a lot better than last year for sure.”