With the fall semester underway and students back at school, whether it be online or in person, students are quickly reminded of how stressful this time of year can be trying to get back into the swing of things. 

Going back to school can cause a lot of anxiety and create a rise in mental health issues for many students. Adjusting to the new norm of the pandemic lifestyle is definitely not making it any easier. 

According to Sarah Ketchen Lipson, a researcher at Boston University, half of students in fall 2020 screened positive for depression and/or anxiety.

Anxiety alone can cause students to feel weary of the year ahead when it comes to in person and online classes, thus creating more stressors in their everyday lives. The Road to College website said a major factor in the decline of mental health in college students is “self-imposed” stress, as well as feeling pressure to succeed. 

“I feel quite a bit of stress and anxiety going back to school due to the workload in my online courses,” Orange Coast College business major Caden Smith, 19, said. “I also feel like online courses are more difficult to be successful in. It makes me feel super unmotivated.” 

According to Taylor Covington’s article on The Zebra blog, 34.2% of students with fragile mental health said their college did not know about their crisis. In addition, 64% of students are no longer pursuing their college education due to mental health issues.


With that being said, it is very crucial that OCC’s student body knows that they have available resources when it comes to mental health. Here are some tips from licensed therapist, Darren Bagwell, who works at a therapy practice in Mission Viejo, called Relationship 180, that could help students stay at ease when getting back into their busy routine this school year:

  1. Address your basic needs. Put yourself first! 

  2. Make time for your hobbies. School is important, but so are your interests!

  3. Practice relaxation exercises, such as meditating, yoga, breathing exercises, ASMR videos, etc.

  4. Connect with others. Whether you’re on campus or online, reach out to classmates and peers. Form a study group. 

  5. Get plenty of sleep. Try to get yourself on a new fall sleep schedule and avoid mindless scrolling on your phone.

  6. Learn how to create a distraction-free environment, especially if you have online classes.

  7. Communicate with your teachers. Go to office hours. If they know you’re trying, they will help you. 

  8. Create solid routines and schedules. Keeping a planner helps.

  9. Reward yourself, even for the small accomplishments, like completing an assignment.

  10. Ask for help. Have a support network. Don’t be afraid to reach out. 

OCC has additional resources for students who are struggling. It is a safe space for people to reach out and get help. Check out OCC Cares for additional information.

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