Disclaimer: This piece was based on an opinion that was held before the Nov. 12 changes were announced in which the West Chester University grading policy would be changed. Read more about these updates on our website: https://wcuquad.com/6017669/news/original-alternative-grading-policy-now-adopted-to-2020-21-academic-year/

 

College itself is tough for students. The transition from living at home, being dependent on parents, to moving onto a campus where there is nothing but strangers, can be overwhelming for many, especially for those who suffer from mental illnesses.

Nobody can prepare for a world pandemic to happen, and nobody could have seen the effect the COVID-19 pandemic would have on people’s mental health, especially those who are still in school during this. According to Harvard’s Medical Team, on April 23, just six weeks after the start of the lockdown, 53.4% of 18–25 year olds reported feeling anxious and depressed due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Mental illnesses can affect student’s motivation and concentration, both of which are crucial for having a successful college experience.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of college students felt overwhelmed and anxious by the college workload, according to the American College Health Association.

In the center of this pandemic, college students are expected to juggle five or more classes, work and attempt to maintain friendships while trying to keep themselves and their families healthy. We must spotlight the well-being of students for the purpose of them maintaining their work while also valuing their happiness. Research has proven that social isolation can contribute to poor mental health, and unfortunately, that’s what we all have to be doing right now.

Something needs to be done in order to give students a sense of relief. For example, when the lockdown first shut down schools, the WCU faculty decided to implement a pass-fail option for students for the spring 2020 semester. This option helped students feel a bit less pressure since the abrupt transition from in-person learning to online learning was extremely challenging.

Some people tend to forget that this whole online learning shift is something new for the faculty and professors as well. Understandably, the professors with less experience in remote learning and aren’t as advanced in technology as others are having a tough time. We students give an immense amount of credit to all professors for adjusting to this as well.

However, the professors that are reluctant to teach and instead just post the work and assignments contribute to part of the reason why students are suffering from horrible anxiety. Having to teach yourself lessons in a class you have no prior knowledge about is extremely stressful and the reason why the anxiety cases in students keep rising.

WCU needs to implement a plan that helps out professors and students. The pass-fail option is an excellent resource for students who have no choice but to have fully online classes and aren’t doing as well as they would have if classes were in person. The pass-fail option gives students who are suffering from anxiety about classes a chance to feel a little better.

All in all, mental illnesses are at an all-time high due to this pandemic, and if something as minor as a pass-fail system could help those who suffer, I think WCU should jump on this opportunity.

 

Aliza Galfund is a third-year Media and Culture major with a minor in nutrition. AG913676@wcupa.edu

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