2020 has been a year like no other; the COVID-19 Pandemic changes the way everyone lives their lives. With several states in the US still imposing a curfew or lockdown, the impact has been felt on all levels. We’ve never seen something quite like this ever before, and with over 10 million people infected, it isn’t showing any chances of going away soon.

While everyone’s under a significant amount of stress, there’s been a significant impact on students. Even though academics are still ongoing with many universities employing online classes, there’s been a significant impact on the students. With these students serving as the country’s future, it’s imperative that we pay close attention to their needs and health. Hence, we’re looking to conduct a survey that looks at the direct impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students’ health and their habits.

Our demographics consisted of 1000 US students from all over the country. Out of the respondents, the students were divided into four categories based on their academic years. These years were freshman year, sophomore year, junior year, and senior year. Out of the four different years, the best-represented category was senior year, making up 47.4% of the participants. Sophomore year and junior year were the second and third most represented category, with 21.4% and 20.5% representation. The final 10.7% of the respondents are from the freshman year.

Student During The Covid-19 Pandemic

It’s only natural that the pandemic would have
a varied impact on students.

Student top 5 concerns During the pandemic

With such hectic lockdown impositions and a heavy impact on the economy, it’s only natural that the pandemic would have a varied impact on students. The first question of our survey deals with the major concern the students had during the pandemic.

Understandably during the lockdown resulting from the pandemic, economic activity is at an all-time low. With a record number of Americans applying for unemployment, it’s only natural that several students are suffering from financial hardships during this time. Additionally, the transition towards studying online hasn’t been entirely smooth either. A lot of students are dependent on that classroom environment for their learning. Students are encountering several issues ranging from concentration issues to connectivity issues. The transition hasn’t entirely been smooth for instructors, either.  Moreover, there are a lot of network issues that may even arise while taking these classes. As a result, students can get left behind and fall back on crucial coursework. 

There’s also a lasting mental health impact on the students, being taken out from their universities, and stuck in quarantine attending classes isn’t an easy business. As a result, there’s an increasing toll on the mental health of students.  Lastly, the final two concerns are being infected with the virus and future careers. With the current state of the economy, it’s natural to expect that job opportunities in the future are going to come few and far between. 

I do have several friends who have lost their jobs as a direct result of the pandemic. Just personally speaking, it's also impacted my retirement savings and my spending for sure. So, you know, as a result of the market's crashing along with everyone else's, I know my 401K definitely plummeted

Emily Smith - MBA student at Georgetown University Tweet

Map of Concerns

As the map showcases, the prevailing concern among the majority of the cases in financial hardship. It helps give us an understanding of the differing impact, depending on the level of lockdown imposed in the respective state. 

The chronicle of higher education recently published an article on the impact of COVID-19 and how it may lead to increased symptoms of depressive disorder. Another prevailing concern is that there stands a risk that the individual might get infected by the virus. There’s a massive level of fear present in the US because of the disease. People are taking all the precautions that they can, and many are facing higher levels of anxiety because of fear of catching the virus. 

Alongside discussing the major issues that were plaguing the students, we also asked them about the solution they were expecting from the government. Attached above is a map of the United States, with different color standing for different concerns and solutions. 

As becomes evident by the map, the most predominant solution to the issue that students are expecting the government to offer a 10% waiver on their student debts. As college tuitions become increasingly expensive, many people don’t have any option but to take on massive student loans to start their education.

In a recent article on Slate, the author analyzes America’s debt crisis in depth. Currently, the level of student debt in the country equals $1,740,184,278,148. Even before their career begins, most students are already under crippling amounts of debt. Additionally, another solution that the students suggest is a reduction in the tuition fee for existing programs. While not all universities agreeing to readjust their fees, top universities are compiling a list of all the colleges that are adjusting their fees in

A small minority of students from certain states are also calling for government-led job creation. Which is something that certain economists seem to be alluding to as well as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the economy begins to crumble, we’ve seen enough evidence from the past that suggests a spending package by the government can facilitate economic growth. Furthermore, a specific focus on job creation would mean that many graduates that are currently facing impending unemployment will find jobs. 

However, there’s still significant progress being made in the fact that businesses are looking to move to a more digital way of running. The economy will find a way to bounce back!

6 out of 10 students said that they are focusing on having good mental health and keep a healthy routine to overcome this hard time.

In these testing times for students, they’ve had to come up with several solutions on their own to the problems they face. As mentioned before, gaming is a major form of stress relief. 57% of the students also responded by stating that they’re focusing on having good mental health and following a healthy routine to get past this time. 

A brilliant article by Veteran war and disaster correspondent for Columbia News talks about how important it is to maintain a daily routine during the virus. During these uncertain times, it can be easy to get lost in the anxiety. However, when you maintain a routine, it’ll give you a definite sense of comfort.

One of the best ways to spend the lockdown is working on your diet and exercise. As has been well documented, one of the best defenses against COVID-19 is strengthening your immune system. Diet and exercise play a crucial role in helping you make sure that your immune system performs at an optimal level. Students who generally tend to survive on an unhealthy diet should use this time in particular to improve eating habits. Make sure you’re healthy as possible, so you don’t live in fear of the virus!

Fornite and League of Legend are student's most favorite games during the COVID-19 pandemic

Due to universities being called off, now more than ever, students are turning to other forms of entertainment. Gaming is becoming increasingly popular, as students have more off-time in normal. They offer a handy distraction from these trying times, and nowadays, gaming can also be a way to earn a little extra revenue on the side. However, perhaps what’s drawing people the most to gaming during the lockdown is the social aspect. 

The most popular games these days are all ones that are predominantly online. These include League of Legends and Fortnite. Another game that’s done brilliantly well is COD: Warzone because of the multiplayer element. However, the entire industry is actually booming. At a time when the economy is generally not doing well, the gaming industry is reporting an increased number of sales. 

However, while gaming is proving to be a decent distraction, it’s not ideal for concentration levels. It’s very easy to be inattentive, and simply wait for your next game to come around. With students spending more time playing video games, it’s much easier for them to start prioritizing gaming over their education, and as a result, the quality of their grades will drop.

It’s only natural that the pandemic would have
a varied impact on students.

Perhaps the learning environment inside a university is something that does not get enough attention. With a switch to a more digital form of education, it’s becoming evident that the university environment plays a big role. In the survey, 75% of students said that online studying makes them focus less and suffer a mental breakdown. While transitioning to online teaching, one of the biggest issues was that universities didn’t reduce the amount of workload. Combine an extensive workload with an inefficient teaching process, and you’ll see an increasing number of students suffering from mental breakdowns. 

However, on the other side of the spectrum, 64% of the students from Ivy league and community college prefer online teaching. These students would like to have online classes as an option even after the pandemic ends.  Even though there are significant issues with online learning, it seems to support students that are introverted characters.

Not getting enough sleep is going to have a detrimental impact on the student’s immune system.

A great indicator of the level of stress students are experiencing is the average hours of sleep they can get per day. The highest average hours of sleep per day, belong to the University of Minnesota with students getting 8.6 hours of sleep for the day. Doctors generally recommend that students should get a minimum of 6-8 hours of sleep every night. New research from the University of Colorado Boulder showcases that certain students are better off during the pandemic because they’re able to get more hours of sleep. On the other end of the spectrum are Florida State University, where students are getting a startlingly low four hours of sleep per day. This lack of sleep also plays a major role in their academic performance. When they’re suffering from a lack of sleep, students will have concentration levels that are significantly lower.

Another source of worry for students in these universities is that a lack of sleep is leaving students at a higher risk of getting infected by the coronavirus. Not getting enough sleep is going to have a detrimental impact on the student’s immune system. This is a concern as the immune system is the first line of defense against the virus. A recent article by the University of Chicago highlights the need to get more sleep to help your body deal with the virus better.

Highest average hours of sleep per day

University of Minnesota

8.6 Hours

University of the West

8.5 Hours

University of Delaware

8.3 Hours

University of Central Florida

8.2 Hours

Binghamton University

8.0 Hours

Lowest average hours of sleep per day

Florida State University

4.0 Hours

Utah State University

5.0 Hours

Princeton university

5.0 Hours

New York University

5.2 Hours

University of Washington

5.2 Hours

Methodology And Limitations

To collect the data shown above, we surveyed 1,000 students in the United States. An attention-checker question was included to ensure the participants did not mindlessly answer questions.

Because the survey relies on self-reporting, issues such as telescoping and exaggeration can influence responses. Please also note that this survey’s results do not reflect our opinions.

Fair Use Statement

If you know someone who could benefit from our findings, feel free to share this project with them. The graphics and content are available for noncommercial reuse. All we ask is that you link back to this page so that readers get all the necessary information and our contributors receive proper credit.