The past couple years have been isolated, uncomfortable, and life-changing.

Mount St. Joseph News

The past couple years have been isolated, uncomfortable, and life-changing. We all have been living in the unknown with COVID-19, and virtual learning. I know countless students, teachers, and professors that have been negatively affected by distance learning, especially since 2020. I also personally have been negatively affected as well.  Most of the problems that I have found with multiple interviews I have conducted is that the main effect of distance learning is the increase of social anxiety among students. I have experienced this, and so have many of my peers.

One of the interviews I did involved three of my peers here at the Mount: Mya Kinder, Amanda Peckham, and Hayley Cupp. I wanted to find evidence of social anxiety, and to learn if it has affected them, and if so, in what ways. The first question I asked them was, “Do you feel that you have developed any type of social anxiety in the past year and a half?” Two of my three peers answered “yes,” and one answered “no.” To help the person who said no to my first question stir up some ideas, I then asked her if she has experienced any of these situations: “Have you ever avoided going to a professor in person for help?”  or “Have you noticed yourself being more nervous to present a group or individual presentation to your class?” She answered yes to both, and I proceeded to tell her those are symptoms of minor social anxiety. She agreed with me when I asked her if she believed that it was caused by online learning. 

I then continued to ask my two other peers more questions about social anxiety, for example: “Have you noticed that you haven’t performed your best in school since 2020? Or since you’ve been through virtual learning?” They both answered yes to this question, which I, myself can relate to. 

This interview showed me that I am not alone, and I am not the only one struggling from the aftermath of virtual learning. Personally, I have noticed that I avoid most face-to-to-face interactions with people I am unfamiliar with, including peers, study groups, and meetings with my professors. Social anxiety is a major issue in our society today, and I believe that the pandemic and social distancing have played a major role in it for many different types of people, especially in the education system. 

One solution we can all involve ourselves in as a community is to speak up and talk about our struggles, and be there for one another. Here at the Mount, we have multiple resources to help with social anxiety, and school in general, including the Student Resource Center, The Wellness Center, and the Learning Center. I encourage students to use these resources, and to also come together in these times of so many unknowns.