Student Struggles during the Pandemic

The global pandemic has disrupted the lives of many, but students in particular have taken a heavy blow. Students are social by nature and school is often where students make most of their friends. In fact, the friends students make in university are most likely to be lifelong friends. But Covid-19 disrupted this important social outlet. Due to online classes students hardly meet in person. Some students hardly even see the faces of their peers because everyone's camera is off to conserve bandwidth. Students entering their first year of university have especially been impacted. They often don't know anyone else in their class, and without in-person classes to facilitate social interactions, they end up not making any friends in their entire first year of university.  And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Students are facing many more challenges due to the pandemic as evidenced by surveys.

For instance, the following statistics were found from a survey done by Active Minds on 2086 post-secondary students in 2020.

  • 80% of students say their mental health has worsened

  • 91% say they are stressed and anxious

  • 80% say they experienced loneliness

  • 48% say they are stressed because of financial reasons

And here are some stats taken from colleges looking at the first 4 weeks of classes in 2019 and comparing them with the first 4 weeks of 2020

The Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors surveyed 144 collages where they were asked to compare the first 4 weeks of classes in 2019 and the first 4 weeks of classes in 2020, here's what they found:

  • 57% of colleges reported increase in student anxiety

  • 81% of colleges reported increase in student loneliness

  • 40% of colleges reported increase in student depression

These results indicate the vast effects of the pandemic on secondary education as a whole. The pandemic forced a sudden change that no one had properly anticipated and one that students were forced to adapt to. These changes will have lasting impacts even as we enter a new normal. Those first year students are now going into second year with very few or no friends at all, grad students are behind on their research because of restricted access to physical resources, and students have less funds due to the lack of jobs during the pandemic.     It is incumbent in a time like this for companies, schools, and communities alike to support students as the devastating effects of the pandemic linger on for years to come.


Rashid, T. & Di Genova, L. (2020). Campus Mental Health in Times of COVID-19 Pandemic:

Data-informed Challenges and Opportunities. Campus Mental Health: Community of Practice (CoP).

Canadian Association of Colleges and University Student Services: Toronto, Ontario.