ONU Art and Design students hard at work (photo / Professor Brit Rowe)

President Dan DiBiasio sent out a message during summer break this year. It stated that the schedule for this fall semester would be changed to, “ensure considerable flexibility for rapid response in the event of a COVID-19 resurgence in late fall”. This means that the students will experience a semester that starts and ends earlier in addition to studying without breaks for rest and revitalization in the midst of it. 

Fifth-year pharmacy student, Harleigh Bellmann, stated that most pharmacy students use the fall and thanksgiving breaks as extra study time which is even more important with the shorter semester. Bellman believes that this will negatively impact her education for this semester, but is hopeful that she will be able to make up for it in the J-term. 

The J-term or January Term is a month long semester for students to take advantage of. This term is traditionally a time for students to explore studies outside of their major, but this year students may also use this term to catch up on classes that they may not have done well in during the semester, or that they may have missed due to the upheaval of the semester last spring.

This semester change may also have adverse effects on students’ mental health. Director of Student Counseling Dr. Anthony Rivera stated that “The college experience has significantly changed this year and it has likely increased stress and anxiety in our students.” The increase in stress and a decrease in the amount of time for students to do their work may have a negative impact on the education for Ohio Northern students this fall. 

On top of this, students are dealing with a mix of hybrid, online and in-person classes. There is no doubt that this fall semester is more difficult than the fall semesters of previous years.

However, there are some ways that students can deal with this stress and come out of this semester better prepared for stress-filled work environments that they may face later in life. The first thing to realize is that you are not alone. As a student, you are surrounded by other students that are dealing with the same semester schedule and difficulties that you are. Furthermore, college students all over America are dealing with the stress of learning in a Pandemic. 

According to Dr. Steven Dykstra, director of Children’s Mobile Crisis Team, one of the best things you can do is, “Talk to someone if it’s really starting to wear you down. If stress is starting to affect your functioning, all universities have student help centers where students can get some basic help from counseling and tips for handling stress and if necessary, resources for additional services.” A lot of things have changed due to this Pandemic, but as a student, you always have someone you can talk to. 

If you are feeling stressed and it is preventing you from going about your life, reach out. There is someone to listen to you. You can contact the student counseling center via phone at 419-772-2190, or via email at c-cherry@onu.edu, or you can visit the Counseling Center on campus in the Klondike’s Den. 

After all, as Dr. Shane Tilton always says, “Don’t panic. This is the way to happiness.”

Leave a Reply