During this past year, many students have been struggling to maintain positive academic progress during this time of loss and grief for so many. I have several friends and family who have lost loved ones due to the coronavirus. It feels as if all of us are having a similar out-of-body experience, with our minds trying to play catch up with the way our bodies are still functioning and completing our everyday tasks and routines. 

Hampton University students were online for the 2020-2021 school year, which just happened to be my senior year of college. Because of the abrupt nature of the pandemic quarantine, many students were required to leave campus right after returning to campus from spring break in March, and then had to return again for a couple days in June to remove their personal belongings from their dorm rooms. For almost 14 months, students attended classes online. Through the unexpected changes and losses, we persevered and learned the true meaning of the word resiliency. Now Hampton University students who are fully vaccinated are back on campus for the fall semester.

I participated in a 12-week virtual internship program with Ally Financial this summer, and I remember speaking with the other interns about how we were mentally unmotivated because of the internship being virtual and how we were disappointed that we were unable to be in person. We were so excited to be back on campus during the fall semester to get some human interaction without the assistance of a webcam. However, now that most of us are now back taking classes in-person, we are once again struggling to adapt to life as it was before the pandemic. We are all readjusting, including the students who were on campus prior to the pandemic. We are adjusting to the social aspects of college because we were forced to learn to live without it. We are also burnt out due to no longer having the breaks in our day that quarantine offered us, and many students are overwhelmed by the new normal.

Hampton University has provided us with wellness days throughout the course of this past year, but some students feel that a couple days is not enough and more wellness breaks should be implemented into the academic year. Many campus activities have been cancelled over the past year, including annual events like Springfest and Senior Week. Now that we are back on campus, students are hoping that we will be able to make up for the losses of last year. 

If you're a student that needs assistance with managing your mental health, check out a couple of these resources below, as we could all use it.

11 Low-Cost Mental Health Resources for Students and Grads

Mental Health Resources for College Students | On-Campus & Off

Lydia Makondo is a Senior Strategic Communications Major and Liberal Studies Minor attending Hampton University. She loves storytelling and sharing the stories of others through various platforms. She has a brand called The HBCU Experience where she shares the culture, history and legacy of HBCUs on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. As a graduate, she plans to continue her studies in business and communications and will begin working in those fields while pursuing her PhD in education. Check out these and her other initiatives on Linkedin and Instagram.