College applications and virtual learning take toll on mental health

Senior Kylie Mum sits in front of her computer trying to navigate her way through college applications.

Kylie Mum

Senior Kylie Mum sits in front of her computer trying to navigate her way through college applications.

There is no doubt that applying to college is stressful but how about doing it all online? 

While college season is approaching it can be hard for students to prioritize their mental health as well as juggle college applications. 

Senior Kylie Mum thought she had already surpassed the hardest year of highschool as a junior but believes senior year is more difficult. 

The SAT was cancelled last spring so many students have been getting them done this fall. 

Studying for the SAT while balancing school work and college tasks can be a struggle for many. 

“I completed my last SAT this past weekend and I’m so relieved that it’s now behind me,” senior Kylie Mum said. “Although college applications are an entirely new obstacle I have yet to maneuver through.” 

Many seniors are tackling early action deadlines which can bring a whole new level of stress as the days are counting down.

“Seniors like myself were already lost in the process and knew it was going to be chaotic, but nothing could’ve prepared us for the unorganized request forms, emails, and google classroom announcements that left us more confused than when we started,” Mum said. 

Mental health is something that many of us are not thinking of as our minds are flooded with deadlines and new assignments that are to be completed.

“It’s been really hard to stay happy and have a social life while going through school and the college process,” Mum said.

 Being online has caused even more issues as it is harder to be guided through the process rather than simply running to your counselor and asking for help in person.

“Many teachers are still giving a lot of online work, which is stressful knowing I have other things to worry about,” senior Kathy Grijalva said.

Not only is it hard to juggle all the college prep, but many seniors have other responsibilities such as work and taking care of their younger siblings. 

It can be hard to find time between having to complete all their school work while helping around the house. 

“I balance several things in my daily routine,” senior Lara Dib said. 

“For example, I am a manager at work, I take care of my younger siblings, I have a full school schedule, and I am trying to figure out what I want for college and my future.” 

Many students are in Dib’s situation as they have several things to balance, which can get overwhelming. “I thought I would hate it, but I think that virtual learning is helpful because I am able to be home and help out while doing school work,” Dib said.

Both college applications and virtual learning are online which means seniors are spending an endless amount of time staring at a computer screen. 

A lot of students are getting headaches since their day consists of staring at the screen to attend school, then staring yet again to complete assignments.

 “It is kind of annoying especially for people who wear glasses to be glued to the screen all day,” senior Andy Zepeda said. “My eyes tend to start hurting right after the third class of the day.”

Several students have complained about how tired they are at the end of the school day due to spending an excessive amount facing their screens. 

On average, students spend around ten hours completing their assignments and other tasks on the computer or phone screen.

This can be extremely difficult on the seniors and causes many different levels of stress and anxiety.

 “It’s really hard to pay attention to everything going on because I’ve been staring at a screen all day,” senior Najma Abikar. 

Students become too caught up in the work assigned by their teachers that they can never have downtime for themselves. 

“I feel like school work takes up most of my day and I can’t find time to relax,” senior Feben Stephanose said. “On top of all of this, the quarter is ending soon which makes it even worse.” 

Another issue students face is transitioning between being surrounded by others to isolating themselves in one spot. 

During the school day, students are accustomed to moving around the classroom and in between class periods. 

However, with virtual learning, they are forced to be separated from everyone else and that change can be difficult to deal with. 

“Sitting down all day at home doing schoolwork isn’t that much of a difference to me,” senior Adona Daniel said. “It does make me less motivated though because we’re not engaged much since it is usually just the teacher talking, and I do get tired more frequently.”

As a result, students have come up with ways to handle balancing everything. 

Some students have created a schedule to help them keep track of things that should be prioritized. It is important to stay organized, especially since there is no one there to physically keep you on track.