Students face uncertainty with online classes, different outlooks affect mental health


mental health/ online classes 4/21

Haley Weis and Haley Weis

BGSU has reached mid-semester and things have not gone exactly as planned. The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has turned life upside down for people around the world and BGSU students are no different.

On March 13, BGSU President Rodney Rogers notified students and faculty that the online learning period would be extended until the end of the 2020 spring semester.

As a precaution to the pandemic, this decision has been unanimous across college campuses in Ohio. 

The online learning period has been met with various opinions from students. For Emily Latham, a fourth-year human development and family studies major, the remote learning was not a factor of concern for her educational experience. 

“I really like (online learning), although I really miss having a daily schedule, being able to attend classes, and going to my internship. There needs to be more of a solid structure on Canvas somehow so I am not forgetting to complete assignments. The professors in my classes have been very amazing and helpful though; you can tell that they care about our well-being,” Latham wrote via email.

On March 27, students received an email from Rogers acknowledging the anxiety that may affect people with the transition to online classes. 

“Now, more than ever, we need to be there for one another. We’ve expanded access to the Counseling Center by offering remote services and the Falcon Health Center will soon launch a tele-health option for your care,” President Rogers wrote in the email. 

Unfortunately, some BGSU students are facing added stress as they are challenged with learning the class material online rather than in person. Students can struggle with the online format as they may have an easier time learning topics with a professor that is guiding the lesson. From lack of understanding to lack of resources needed to access the online material, students are worried. 

One student of these students is Joe Fargo. Fargo, a second-year English and American culture studies major, is concerned about how online learning may affect his future after the pandemic. 

“The online classes have been an extreme stressor for me. I have very little access to internet in the location that I am now placed in, making me uncertain when I am able to complete my work and whether I’ll be able to do so in a timely manner,” Fargo wrote via email. “I’m incredibly concerned for my academics and grades, as I need a 3.5 GPA both overall and averaged in my major classes to remain eligible in certain student organizations and keep the scholarships that I require to attend this great university. In addition, I have rather lofty goals of receiving scholarships to law school upon completion of my Bachelor’s degrees, so I have already had an incredible worry about my academics and grades before the increased stress of online learning.” 

With an increase in stress there can be a surge of mental health issues amongst students. Although this is not always the case for every student, it is encouraged that students know available resources. 

During the time of social distancing, the Counseling Center at BGSU is offering the same services they usually offer to students in their office, but virtually. Those services include individual, couples and group therapy; consultation and emergency services; and student assistance and advocacy — all offered via video conferencing or over the phone. 

Students may also continue to access the Counseling Center’s “walk-in” hours by calling their office from 1:30-4:00 PM on Monday through Friday. The services are free for the online period. 

Denise Litterer, an assistant director, training director and psychologist at the Counseling Center, stated students can have very different outlooks on virtual learning that can affect their mental health both positively and negatively. 

“Many people are experiencing a sense of grief over the loss of events, interactions, connections, and freedoms. They may be feeling sad, afraid, and isolated.  For some, it may be an opportunity to slow down and become more mindful of the present moment and to practice self-care in ways they may not have had time for before,” Litterer wrote via email. 

The Counseling Center can help with a wide set of mental health issues that students may be dealing with. Students can call the Counseling Center at 419-372-2081 to find the best option for them.