College students experience many challenges throughout their higher education journey. Students face many challenges which can include family expectations, financial debt and dealing with mental health problems. One of these challenges include being food insecure. The Health Affairs calls it the “Invisible Epidemic” as 30% of all college students experience food insecurity at some point in their college career. Breaking this down further, 38% are from two year colleges and 20% are students at a four-year institution.
Recently a former Let’s Go intern, Nathen Ortiz, conducted a survey and asked the Let’s Go community if they experience food insecurity. 31.8% of respondents were community college students, 31.8% were CSU students, 9.1% were from a private institution, 27.3% were students at a UC institution. These students were asked a variety of questions related to food insecurity, such as if they also experienced housing insecurity, if their institution offered a food pantry and how accessible said food pantry was. About 45.5% of the respondents consider themselves food insecure, 31.8% do not consider themselves food insecure and 22.7% said they were not sure. From this data, it is gathered that almost 50% of the respondents were food insecure and from these correspondents, 60% also struggled with housing insecurity. Challenges that contribute to students struggling with food insecurity have to do with not receiving enough financial aid, having to pay for other expenses and bills, losing jobs, and having financial emergencies.
Suggestions students presented to address food insecurity among college students and improve food services in their institutions were:
- Institutions being more vocal of resources outside school like food banks and other food-related programs
- Giving leftover food to students
- Outreach programs and outside resources
- Grocery store gift cards
- Providing stipends or emergency funds for students in need
- Giving free meal swipes for students
- Providing free grocery food stamps and other forms of food insecurity support for eligible students
According to Help Guide, burnout is “a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.” This can happen in any setting: personal life and obligations, work, and especially school. With having to deal with all the changes due to the pandemic, it is no surprise that many of us have checked out long ago. The lack of physical interaction with family and friends, the change between in-person to virtual work/ school, and the losses of family and loved ones to the pandemic have all left us emotionally vulnerable. On top of this, workplaces and academia are still expecting the same, if not, better results from us which makes dealing with personal issues even harder.
Symptoms of burnout include:
- Feeling tired and drained most of the time.
- Lowered immunity, frequent illnesses
- Frequent headaches or muscle pain
- Change in appetite or sleep habits
- Sense of failure and self-doubt
- Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
- Detachment, feeling alone in the world
- Loss of motivation
- Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
- Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment
If you recognize any of these symptoms, you might be facing burnout. As things begin to reopen in California, you might feel rushed to return “back to normal” however, it is ok to still be processing everything that has happened this past year. We are all experiencing this pandemic in a variety of ways and you should not feel rushed into being okay with everything that has happened. For this reason, we advise you to also take a break this summer from academia if that is something you need.
Other ways to confront burnout include:
- Setting boundaries: You don’t have to say yes to everything you are asked to do! Value your needs first.
- Use your time off: Use your pay time off, you earned it! In addition, take a break during the summer! This is the time to recharge and prepare for the upcoming semester.
- Indulge in things you enjoy: Sometimes we feel guilty for “wasting time” on things we enjoy, but there is no waste in doing something that helps/ betters you! You are investing in your well-being and that is valuable.
These are just three tips to avoid burnout but the most important thing is recognizing it is happening. By recognizing it, you are then able to pace yourself and schedule yourself back on track! Burnout is normal and we all experience it, you deserve a break. We all do.
Source: HelpGuide – Burnout Prevention and Treatment
The holiday season is upon us! While this can be a time of celebration with family and friends, this can also be a stressful time for college students and their families. A lot of money and time goes into these celebrations that not everyone has the means for. In addition, for vulnerable students like low-income, houseless, and queer students this can be a time of stress and uncertainty.
However, in times like these, we can depend on community and mutual aid because we have each other’s back. Below we have listed different resources college students and their families can hopefully benefit from.
Food Banks: Offers free food such as non-perishables, fruits, and vegetables.
Find a Food Bank
California Food Banks
Shelters: If you are seeking emergency shelter or a safe place to stay during the holiday/ winter season, here is CA’s shelter directory:
Emergency and Homeless Shelters – United Way 211
California Homeless Shelters – California
COVENANT HOUSE CALIFORNIA – Serving homeless youth in Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay area
Queer Resources: For some queer students, college is the perfect escape to find and embrace who they are without the fear of rejection. This can sometimes make going back home difficult. Below are LGBTQ resources like CSU centers, self-care guide, and county and statewide resources you can access.
LGBTQIA Centers | CSU
Self-Care During The Holiday Season – The Trevor Project
Holiday Gifts- Have a young child in your life? Here are some centers and organizations that host toy drives:
Get FREE Christmas Gifts & Food In California!
Free Christmas and holiday assistance Los Angeles County
You’ve signed up for classes, you’ve learned your way around the virtual course system — and now, you’ve got to make sure you persist all the way to graduation.
Laptop or paper notes? Highlighter or flashcards? And does music help while studying? Here’s how to take better notes and study so that you remember what you’ve learned — without getting crushed by college stress. Plus: what to do if you do feel crushed.
- Learn how to take notes.
- Get a planner and actually use it.
- When studying, don’t just put information into your brain. Draw it back out.
- Failure is not the end.
- Take care of yourself — and get some sleep.
- Let go of the stigma around mental health problems.
- Know when to reach out for help.
Click this link to the article with tips and resources to learn more about good study habits that will help you be a successful college student without burning out. This article includes written tips and a podcast for you to listen to.
Source: Elissa Nadwordy, Education Reporter with NPR
A lot of our daily routines have halted like driving to work or school, meeting up with friends, and working out. While some of these are still not yet safe to do, there are ways to shift these activities into our new reality. Gyms will most likely be one of the last public spaces in California to open but we have gathered some tips for you to stay fit at home!
- Youtube workouts: There’s plenty of workout videos on Youtube that you can follow along to. Try searching for what fits your environment! For example workouts in small spaces, backyard workouts, low impact workouts, no equipment workout, etc.
- Outdoor Workouts: While gyms are not open, outdoor activities are still open for you to safely participate in. This includes going for a walk, running, hiking at your local trails. Just make sure to follow the CDC guidelines of staying 6 feet away from others and wearing a mask. Find your local open state park here: State Parks COVID-19 Resource Center
- Working out with others: Feeling lonely? Don´t feel too down, you can still work out with others without having to leave your home. Set up a time for you and your friends to work out together via facetime, zoom, etc. Follow an online video or influencer, or switch it up and have someone in your group lead!
- Daily routine: Little activities like dancing, cleaning, taking your pet for a walk all count as a fitness activity, add fitness into your daily routine and you’ll forget you’re even working out.
Staying fit is not only good for your body but your mental health as well. It allows you to destress and get away from the overwhelming amount of news that is currently happening. But at the same time, we also understand that what’s going on in the world might make it difficult to do things like getting up and being active. Remember to be patient with yourself, you are doing the best you can. Taking a break and just staying in bed, is taking care of yourself and your body just as much.