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Home / World / On-campus election anxiety: College students stress and distract from exams and classrooms

On-campus election anxiety: College students stress and distract from exams and classrooms

Briana Daugherty does not anticipate spending the mornings after Election Day on her six-hour long-distance trip back to school. The University of Oklahoma senior was in her family home in Houston after an ice storm swept through the OU’s campus, causing serious power outages. Daugherty, who is learning air traffic control, couldn’t miss any of the live lessons for her Wednesday 4pm class, and was pressured to drive again.

“Our student government passed a policy to allow students to take Election Day leave, but we missed a few days of school because of a massive ice storm,” she told me, while driving. car to school. “The teachers have pushed back assignments and made exceptions, so a lot of the tests fell on election week instead of last week, making it extremely difficult.”


“I stayed up last night until about 1:30 and we left Houston at 7am,” she added. “I don’t feel like I have the mentality to fill in my schedule.”

As millions of votes are still tallying the nation, America is in an uncertain stalemate. This overwhelming sense of anxiety – a feeling that is often extinguished on election night mornings – pulled into the next day, though the president’s return was expected to take longer than usual. . Most Americans have no choice but to go back to work or go to school and continue as usual, even when the president falsely states that he has won the election.

In a particularly tiring year for millions of Americans, from essential workers to home-working parents, there seemed to be disregard for the plight of capable college and graduates. the work performance of the subjects is stressed by the coronavirus. The pandemic has seriously affected the mental health and well-being of students. Many people are in financial trouble and cash-strapped organizations may not offer as many financial or health support as they used to be.

And students like Daugherty don’t get paid to work through this high-stakes election. In fact, they are the ones who pay for these classes, while the terms and conditions surrounding lecture attendance, assignment deadlines, and exam schedules are often specified with little or no head. student entry. Most do not take school off on Election Day to vote and young people’s schedules tend to change during the week, depending on when assignments are due, compared to the usual 9 to 9 working week. 5 weeks.

Like most Americans, these students felt distracted, distracted by the impending election results, and depending on Trump or Biden’s victory, the country’s future could be affected. enjoy significantly. A sophomore at Illinois State University spent election night working on two different essays over the weekend, a timeline she felt did not take into account “imminent fear for the future. of the students based on election results. ”

A first-time student at Penn State Abington spent almost an hour commuting to school on November 4 taking a live Spanish test. And a Florida State University student told me that she was assigned two online tests that are expected to arrive at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday. In some ways, a full-time student’s schedule can be more rigorous, if not more rigorous than those who work eight hours a day.

“We have assignments and classes, and we have to study on them. It’s hard to vote, ”said Alyssa, a freshman graduate at the UNC School of Pharmacy, who asked Vox to refuse to publish her full name out of privacy concerns. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, students from Alyssa cohorts have certain hours blocked from their exams and class schedules. On November 3, she said they were given two tests that must be completed by 8:00 p.m., in addition to participating in a mandatory three-hour lab.

Alyssa and some of her classmates voted early, but overall, she says it seems that the school and its professors are not prioritizing student health during a stressful election week.

“Since we have two exams in a day, many people feel unprepared for the flexible exam and feel they cannot leave the computer during the hours needed to go to vote, or fear that they will vote. miss the exam if they go, ”Alyssa wrote to me via text message. “I heard about some people who will take the test at 6 in the morning, but with such a hard working day ahead, it will make many people mentally tired.”

Since Election Day is not a federal holiday, many universities like UNC operate on the premise that classes will continue as usual, without taking into account logistical challenges, the time consuming that young voters face when voting.

Erika Neal, a 22-year-old graduate student in California, told Vox in early October: “I think not all, but many school systems are not connecting the importance of civic bonding with our daily life. In 2016, Neal’s dense work and study schedule prevented her from voting, as she did not have time to take a train to the polling location where she was registered.

Students’ academic performance, especially in midterm projects and thesis, can significantly affect their professional career trajectory. That makes it difficult for young people to participate in the political process as they wish, even as students begin to realize how “politics is involved in every aspect of our lives,” like Neal. to speak.

Some students feel that their focus is not only consumed by a slow return, but also by the reaction from ideologically detrimental peers and educators.

Deja Gordon, a sophomore at Louisiana State University, said: “Seeing me in school in a very reddened state, there are a lot of people expressing their views freely and this too. includes two professors that I have personally. “Mentally, I’m not anywhere well, and it only takes a day or two to focus on myself, my beliefs and everything.”

However, higher education has somewhat adapted to deal with post-election fever, at least compared to previous years.

Lucas Landherr, a professor of chemical engineering at Northeastern, said he adjusted his lesson plan accordingly by 2020. “Today I have three different classes and just lessons. work together for each class and tell the students that they can skip classes without problems. . In the previous electoral cycle, Landherr went on and taught as usual even though “the feeling of the room outperformed any potential academic potential.”

Some professors find it beneficial to continue scheduled classes, but are more tolerant of assignments and attendance during election week.

“There was so much pressure to focus everything through American lenses for the past four years, it often felt like an unconscious version of America first, it just came from within the academy,” Yuliya Komska, associate professor of German at Dartmouth. , explained it to me via Twitter. As an instructor for a beginner language class, Komska thinks her course could serve as a program that reflects information on the cross-wall election, as they discuss German politics.

“I think that’s the complete opposite of my experience at university in 2016,” said a graduate student at Harvard’s Department of Government. “Over the past few weeks, my instructors have been spending time outside of classes discussing our preference for how classes will run after November 3rd.” Some professors have suggested holding Zoom sessions open for students to discuss profits, and some changes are also made in syllables to adapt to elections.

However, these exemptions often vary by program or teacher rather than at the grassroots level. For example, the editors of the Rice University student newspaper welcomes the government to take steps to help students vote, but argues that the impact of an election often extends beyond the voting deadline. .

“Although not every election is as divisive as this one, it is still an opportunity for us to learn. Our health cannot recover immediately after a day of rest, ”the student wrote. “In the future, we ask that you choose to allow students more time to read the results of the elections.”

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