By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
Despite the presence of the vaccine, does COVID-19 still deeply concern you? If so, you’re not alone.
“Some students may still worry about catching COVID,” said Andrew Poole, public and media relations associate at Cayuga Community College. “Or that something worse will come along.”
COVID-19 has also fueled anxiety in other areas that it affects beyond health.
“Students may worry that their desired field has changed a lot because of the pandemic,” Poole said. “Or whether they will be able to earn enough to pay for their education. Or something else entirely.”
While feeling concerned about negative outcomes and making plans to mitigate them makes sense, undue worry can zap your vitality, stymie your initiative and contribute to poor sleep and overall poor physical health.
It may help to talk with a friend. Sometimes, just feeling like someone else understands about your concerns can make a difference in feeling better about them.
Making a list of concerns and ways you can do to address them can help you feel more in control and less likely to worry.
1 — Worry: The pandemic may make me less employable with my major.
• Solution: I can talk with a guidance counselor about the ways I can use my education
• Solution: I can take additional schooling to make my education more useful.
• Solution: I can look at changing my major to something with a higher employment rate.
• Solution: I can look for employment that is associated with my major but not exactly what I was hoping for.
2 — Worry: I cannot earn enough money to pay for my education and I fear debt.
• Solution: I can ask the financial aid office what can help.
• Solution: I can work more hours on the weekend.
• Solution: I can check out any grants for which I could qualify.
• Solution: I can start a small business to earn more money.
3 — Worry: I am afraid I will catch COVID-19 and become very ill.
• Solution: I can follow the CDC guidelines to avoid COVID-19.
• Solution: I can get fully vaccinated.
• Solution: I can continue safeguarding my health with improved hygiene practices.
• Solution: I can support good health through proper sleep, diet and exercise and forgoing tobacco, alcohol and drugs.
By developing several options for how to address worries, you can feel empowered about the future.
Engaging in exercise, exposure to adequate sunlight, mindfulness, prayer and meditating on positive thoughts can all help reduce anxiety. For additional help, a mental health counselor can offer insights into why you feel anxious and how you can better cope with anxiety.
“The past year has been stressful for everyone, and we understand that students may still have anxiety from the pandemic,” Poole said. “We always work to support our students’ health and have trained personnel available to speak with them and listen to their concerns and help identify solutions. Our college community is committed to supporting everyone, and we are dedicated to providing a variety of academic and social platforms to help students have a successful, safe and enjoyable collegiate experience. We continue to offer COVID-19 testing and encourage our community to follow appropriate social distancing measures and hand hygiene etiquette.”