RICHMOND, Ky. — Students are back on college campuses across the Commonwealth. But with varying COVID-19 policies and quarantines, it’s a constant juggle to stay on top of their courses.

What You Need To Know

  • An EKU student is helping her fellow classmates navigate coursework

  • U.S. Department of Education says most college students have experienced mental health challenges

  • The EKU student offer emotional support to her friends for online courses

  • 80% of college students reported that “COVID-19 has negatively impacted their mental health"

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Education, nearly all postsecondary students have experienced some challenges to their mental health and well-being during the pandemic.

This is a challenge senior Eastern Kentucky University student Lily Boone has experienced with her friends.

"Hey. I was calling to check-in. How are ya?" Boone said as she called one of the friends. "Are you having online class again? Well, I can help with online class if you need motivation."

Boone considers herself a master at online learning.

"I've been in online school by choice for probably like four semesters and then when COVID hit, I was supposed to go back on campus so it was a continuation of online," Boone said.

She’s self-motivated to pace herself for class, but her fellow classmates and friends are having a tough time. She said this semester is oscillating with changes.

"One of my brothers was sick and he tested positive for COVID. So then I had to get in contact with my professors and decide the best course of action for me," Boone said.

From that circumstance, a question loomed: Does she switch to online learning or go to class?

"It's definitely for me and my anxiety that's a lot. Like, just not knowing if I can go on campus to learn, and like, more about the uncertainty of, I don't want to hurt my classmates or my teachers," Boone said.

Lily Boone considers herself a master at online learning and is now helping other students. (Spectrum News 1/Khyati Patel)

Ultimately, her situation was resolved because she is fully vaccinated and her professors told her she could learn in class.

"It’s is not only hard for us it's hard for the professors trying to keep up with one another and learning and getting all the information we need," she said. "That was the main concern like, am I truly learning all the information I need. Because I graduate this semester, I don't want to go out into the workforce unprepared because of this vaccine or not vaccine because of COVID."

Boone is preserving, balancing coursework with the added layers of the constant changes that follow during the pandemic.

"These populations who are at risk, can't necessarily get the vaccine and if they can't get the vaccine if they do get COVID it can be very deadly for them," Boone said. "So we have to come together as a community to protect these people who can't protect themselves." 

In the same published study, 80% of college students reported that “COVID-19 has negatively impacted their mental health." The survey was conducted by Active Minds helped collect that data.