Langara students feel stressed about returning to campus

Students at Langara are sharing their perspective about being overwhelmed

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By Jen Shannon

This story has been updated to include a student perspective about stress returning to campus.

Some Langara students are feeling rushed and overwhelmed returning to campus.

Emi Baeza Martinez, who studies fine arts at Langara, didn’t feel like they could thrive while taking classes online. They’re thankful for having their community of classmates back, but studying in person during a pandemic is taking its toll.

Baeza Martinez has been experiencing burnout from their workload and is emotionally overwhelmed by full classrooms. “The combination of both is a little over the top,” they said. “It still feels very rushed. And it feels weird to be in classrooms with 30 people.”

Doaa Thabet, a business administration student at Langara, said the transition back to in-person class was too harsh.

“I feel like I needed more time to practice before jumping back into everything being back on campus,” Thabet said. She preferred studying from home. The school-life balance was easier for her, and she misses the flexibility online school brought.

Between September and December of 2020, Statistics Canada found that 33 per cent of 18–24-year-olds reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or anxiety — a rate four times higher than reported in older adults.

When it comes to dealing with stress, Thabet reminds herself that she can move at her own pace.

“I try to be as kind as possible to myself . . . it’s alright if you’re not as comfortable as you maybe should be with everything.”

Advice from speakers

CJ Calvert, a motivational speaker from Toronto, was one of several speakers at an Oct. 10 TEDxLangaraCollege recording about moving forward in a changing world. Most of his speech revolved around recovering from burnout.

His advice for students dealing with pandemic anxiety is to go for a walk.

“It’s amazing how if somebody is kind of feeling down, just to do something like get out of bed, have a shower, put on a fresh set of clothes, go outside and walk around for 10 minutes just to get some fresh air can be an immediate mood booster,” Calvert said.

Anthony Virdo, a student engagement officer at Langara College who also spoke at the event, wants students to find empowerment and agency for themselves.

“What people need for their wellness is a space where they can be heard, a space where they can just be,” Virdo said.

He thinks students should take time to work on themselves personally, and not spend all of their energy on developing academically.

“You’ve got to focus on your GPA, your work, your references,” Virdo said. “Those are really noble pursuits, and you should absolutely follow them. But if you leave what’s missing on the inside? I don’t think it matters how far you get, you’re going to always feel like something’s missing.”

Calvert also encourages students to do something renewing every day. His renewal advice includes “joy breaks”: short activities you enjoy that don’t take up much of your day.

“The point with it being every day is it’s got to be consistent,” Calvert said. “If you can make these daily habits, that’s very powerful.”

 

Video interview of Emi Baeza Martinez discussing her experience of being in the fine arts program at Langara:

 

 

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