Princeton, where a student committed suicide while studying remotely last spring, has seen a 15% increase in demand for services, a record.
“More and more students were reporting various cases of homesickness, where they felt really lost not having their parents with them,” said Calvin R. Chin, director of counseling and psychological services at the school. .
There is no doubt that missing much of college has changed the social dynamics on campus, as if the students are all Rip Van Winkles, coming back from a long sleep.
Josh Nagra returned home to lock himself in as a freshman at Claremont McKenna College and returned to the California campus this fall as a junior. By this time, he found, everyone had changed and he couldn’t count on the same friends.
“People came back to college thinking they had all these groups of friends,” he said, adding, “but you are now very different people and you are two years older.”
There was a loss of connection, he said.
The students ask for help. More than 9,000 people have signed a petition calling for more mental health services at the University of Saint Louis. West Virginia University student government is asking for state help. The Domanico family created a foundation in memory of Eric. “A year from now we’re going to find out that we have a lot more kids with these issues, and we won’t know what to do,” Domanico said.
At Yale, alumni, family and friends of Rachael Shaw-Rosenbaum founded Elis for Rachael, trying to influence the college’s mental health policies. The pandemic has pushed her to the limit, her mother, Pamela Shaw, said during a phone call from Anchorage. She had tried to convince her daughter to take a year off until the pandemic receded. “That’s not what college looks like,” she told him.