[Haley Reading groups Fall 2021]
For our last week of responses, we’re thinking beyond the short stories.
We’re not where we were last year this time when all classes were remote and the pandemic was even more prevalent, but we’re still not back to pre-COVID so-called normality.
Over the last couple of years, researchers and commentators have noted the toll that the pandemic has had on African Americans and other people of color in terms of health, in the workforce, in neighborhoods and homes, and in schools.
As we emerge from and continue to deal with a pandemic, what do you now think is one of the most important challenges to consider and discuss at SIUE concerning black students like you? Briefly explain in two or three sentences.Examples:
• “The biggest challenge is putting figuring out how to put black students in touch with each other. The pandemic diminished crucial peer-to-peer networks, which were crucial for overall educational and social development. Addressing those kinds of issues will be vital if we expect black students to thrive here at the university and moving forward.” --J. D.
• Motivation. Over the last two years, so many black students like me loss motivation to do well and excel. If we expect to get to a better place, we’ll certainly have to figure out how to inspire folks to become more excited about educational and professional pursuits.” –M. S.
• The pandemic made it even clearer how vulnerable African Americans were in a world with systemic racial injustice. We should use all we learned about disproportionate health factors as well as the protests concerning social justice to address really address racist barriers at university.” P. F.
Coming out of a pandemic I believe the biggest challenge to be overcome are mental health cons. We currently struggle with the increase in mental illness and finding motivation to push through. All young black men & women need to find the motivation to push through the current oppression we struggle with along with mental illness.
The biggest challenge students of color face because of the pandemic are our ability to develop intimate connections with one another. Whether it is to advance in the academic arena or simply to develop a meaningful connection, the pandemic has profoundly influenced how we interact with one another. However, through various forums and social events, I feel SIUE does a good job of connecting the Black community with one another.
We have seen an increase in mental illness due to the COVID 19 pandemic especially in young people. While the stigmas around mental illness have improved in the black community, there is still a layer of anxiety in black students. It can be quite difficult to speak to a therapist, and might prove to be easier to speak to other black students about any struggles they may be facing. I think it could be helpful to have a group like this. Maybe call it a book club like this one, help remove the tension of having to talk about feelings and just meet up to discuss books all black students should read.
Having recently recovered from a pandemic, I believe getting over mental health problems is the biggest challenge. We are struggling to overcome the increasing number of mental illnesses. To push through the current oppression and mental illness we face, young black men and women need to find motivation. Our ability to develop intimate relationships with one another is threatened by the pandemic, which is one of the biggest challenges faced by students of color. The pandemic has profoundly affected the way we interact with one another, whether it is to advance academically or simply to establish meaningful connections. Although, I believe SIUE does a good job of bringing together the Black community through various forums and social events.
One of the most important challenges right now is division. There’s a divide in all people regarding covid vaccinations, but I think it’s mainly within African American groups. Everyone has their reasons for receiving or not accepting the shot, however I don’t think those who have not accepted should be slandered or treated any differently. There was already a divide amongst minorities and other groups before covid so you would think this is the time people come together to accomplish a common goal.
The biggest challenge African American students faced coming out of a pandemic in my opinion would be coping with mental illness and lack of focus. Alot of us have witnessed deaths in our families due to covid and some may still be struggling. Also, as a student it has been hard staying focus on schoolwork while at home with not only the distractions by the television or my phone but also by the events that were going on in the world around me. Moving forward I think we should keep in mind how important mental health is and also work on pushing ourselves to stay focus. -N.B.
A challenge that we face is mental health. It has been said multiple times already, but it is the truth. With everything that we have seen during the pandemic or just in these past years, mental health should be one the focus for African Americans. We have seen so much on the news or on social media that we get so consume over. (Rightfully so, when knowing what happening in the world) That we forget how much it affects our mental health.
Coming out of a pandemic I would say the biggest challenge thus far has been reconnecting with society while trying to protect one's mental health. Creating boundaries while trying not to be lonely in this world. This was already an issue most faced but after being out of touch for so long it's even harder now to integrate.
- Udochukwu Chikere
I think that one of the most important challenges African Americans students have faced during this pandemic is mental health. We have faced a variety of things from racial injustice, like with George Floyd and Breonna Taylor's deaths to being the main group to die from Covid-19 during this pandemic. All these serious issues being brought upon us, and including keeping up with school work has caused a strain on many African American students mental health.
I believe our biggest challenge in the African American community at SIUE would be mental health. With covid it makes it even more difficult to reach out for help and gain support from others with the lack of face to face time with one another.
One of the most important challenges to consider and discuss at SIUE concerning black students is mental health. It is something that it hard to talk about because non-black individuals will never understand what it is like to be black going to a predominantly white institution. We go through so much, whether it be us individually or someone else the same color as us, and it can take a negative toll on our minds. We just need that motivation to keep going and that may come from getting connected with other black students.
I think one of the most important challenges to consider is inclusion. The university should come up with more ways for African American students to meet and get to know each other. -D.E.
The issue that stood out the most was my family's reaction to having to wear masks and getting vaccines. Our government doesn't have the best track record of keeping our wellness in mind and they were scared. But now the challenge has evolved to how to have these big family meetings while keeping everyone safe, teaching the older generation how social media works, instructing the little ones to be warier of an invisible threat they can't perceive, as well breaking down inequality and police brutality.
One of the challenges we face is finding people like us to relate to. We are a minority as a whole in america and this school is predominately muzungu so its hard. Another challenge is subtle racism/microaggressions.
One of the biggest challenges that SIUE should consider concercning black people in the pandemioc is the finacial and mental health issues. A lot of homes of the fellow black communioty or any community has suffered finacially when covid first outburst. A lot of buisness were struggling and left some closed permantely. A lot of people have been struggling on the finacial aspect of things and are desperate for help. Another issue is how much of an increase mental health issues spiraled during the pandemic. Many people are left with social isoloation and causes a spread of anxiety in the black community. Everyone should find a motivation to push themself through this problem.
I think one of the biggest challenges is motivation. Some of us don't really have that drive to keep going. Not everyone has that "I got this" mindset and if they do, they might not have it for very long.
The biggest challenges that us African Americans have faced slowly getting out of the pandemic is the lack of interactions with other students. Like all other races, you feel the most comfortable surrounding yourself around people that you are most comfortable with. While trying to transition back to the norms, some of us are having trouble trying to branch out and find new people.
One of the biggest challenges at SIUE would be mental health. Days of isolation and fear of the virus has really impacted our mental state. Some people have started to feel lonely or have severe anxiety, things like these can lead to suicide. I believe that our first step would be to help students who are going through these rough times, let them know that we can overcome this and that they are not alone.
To me an important thing to consider at Siue is the way the pandemic affected mental health on students. It makes it harder for us to find that motivation to want to stay in school because it can be tiring at times. The pandemic also took a toll on our income from jobs we have causing us to lose hours so less money for us to make even though that's an important especially through a pandemic.
From the pandemic one of the biggest struggles in the black community was definitely mental health after being in the isolation phase and from schools changing schedules. Not having school or class the same day or times that their friends do due to social distancing. It was also a challenge for small black owned businesses and their families due to the anxiety of not knowing when they were going to be able to sell their goods again or have their business open in person.
One of the most important challenges to consider and discuss at SIUE concerning black students', “post-pandemic,” is mental health. Due to all of the unfortunate situations that occurred and intensified during the pandemic, created a big weight on some people’s shoulders and their mental state. Especially when the pandemic first hit. A lot of people did not know what to do or how they were going to survive with no working and then going to full online school could be a great shift for some students because school, for some students, is an escape from a toxic family household. - Anijah B.
One of the biggest challenges for African Americans during this time is dealing with mental illnesses and managing their time to focus on themselves. The pandemic has made it difficult for people to be able to socialize and let off steam/emotions however they choose to do so.
The most important challenges to consider is motivation and mental health. A lot of people, like myself, struggle with having lack of drive and the ability to push forward due to the pandemic. With this lack of motivation, it leads to people dealing with more mental health struggles making it challenging to focus on school.
The biggest challenge for African Americans during this time would have to be having to deal with mental illnesses and not having a big support system as before. Now we are just forced to reach out and meet online due to covid when we're used to being able to get up and just go. it's really hard going to a predominantly white college because it's not a lot of us. I think we need to have more things for us to meet each other. - Carr A.
Mental health and Financial issues are the biggest things from the pandemic. It is hard to stay employed if you fo not have the vaccine. As well as, keeping a healthy mental state through this pandemic with all the stress that comes with it.
I think a important challenge we need to consider especially for African American students at SIUE is microaggression. With all the things that have gone on this past year, everyone should be fully aware of the social injustice going on in the world and how divided we are. There have been many times were I've been uncomfortable or had to correct someone on something they said because it came across wrong, and being at this school had really made me realize that not many people understand what they say or do can come off as prejudice and racist. Knowing that not everyone is going to agree when it comes to racial problems like this, but at least talking about it more could give people who don't understand that there is a problem a base to start recognizing these types of things and how they affect others.
I think an important challenge that we need to recognize following the pandemic is mental health and finances. With the pandemic, it isolated us from connecting with others. Especially those who we could potentially relate to and talk to. With the pandemic and quarantine, we were forced to be isolated with nothing but time on our hands and our thoughts. With the pandemic, finances is something that was an issue for many as well, as far as job loss, and decrease in income. We simply need to recognize this time as the time to "recover."
I think the most challenging aspect as been the mental health problems African Americans are facing. It also doesn't help that a majority of the people there are to talk to (therapists) aren't African American so they wouldn't be able to relate to our problems. On top of that, there are some people who don't wanna talk about their problems but instead talk about everyday things with someone that's also African American.
I think am Important challenge we face it our ability to stay up. Now when I say that I mean the pandemic put us in a lazy and sad place. I feel as if we've lost motivation to do more or to even get back to where we were. That mother can come from anywhere teachers, friend, parents, boss, coworkers. We need to strive for more and stop sitting at home on the couch or laying in bed. Doing nothing. This pandemic set us back and it sat us down. Let's not let it keep us there.
The pandemic has had a toll on the black community. Covid 19 has divided everyone and made it harder to connect with different people. Especially the stress college brings plus the added stress of covid awareness , its a lot to jungle but I think if all the students that are struggling come together we can all succeed
I believe that one of the biggest challenges that the pandemic has on black students is everybody is not used to waking up for class or work and taking responsibility. I believe that the pandemic everybody lazy and some people are not motivated to do anything. One of the biggest challenges in my option is to try to adjust your life self after being quarantine for a year.
The biggest challenge black students face is mental health. Mental health is always a big issue because it is very difficult to overcome. It takes months and years to be mentally stable in order to live the right way.
There are many challenges that our people face during COVID 19, but one I want to discuss is mental illness. Being isolated for long periods of time is extremely hard for us especially since we have been isolated nearly our whole lives. I feel it's not healthy for our community especially since we face many problems as it is on our own. Mental illness plays a big role in this and the pandemic I felt has made it worse. Also our support system is not as big as others. During these times we need a big support system for whatever we need to get done.
I'd say a challenge would be communication. for me I don't like asking for help and talking to other people in a group. I would always try figuring things out on my own and in doing so i slack.
I would say some challenges for black students is to try not to get called racist comments and looked at in a negative way.
I also believe that we have a challenge of just staying focused overall and balancing life in general
I feel like the black community has a problem with coming together. A lot of the black students on campus are very separated and isolated. There are so many different cliques on campus and it does not feel like a community. Of course people are going to have their friend groups, but at least we could come together and be friendly to each other.
I would say the biggest challenge is mental illness. Even though we are not on lock down like before COVID is still affecting lives and for most people mentally. I feel people are scared to say I need to go to therapy to deal with my problems. And the reason they are scared is because the people that maybe don't have that problem are looking at them and saying rude and mean things insead of encouragement and letting them know it's going to be ok and if you need therapy to help you there is nothing wrong with that.
I feel as the pandemic and covid grew stronger when it first started the main thing African American students faced was their mental health. As things began to be taking away from us like the ability to see friends or go out, we were left with ourselves. As we journeyed into a new path in life, college, and coming out of a strict lockdown from high school it was even harder to put ourselves out there and not be afraid to be judged or anything like that. Mental health has to be one of the things that really affected me and my friends while covid hit.
I'd say challenges we as African Americans students face is trying to stay focus and feeling like we don't belong. I also feel as that we have this sense of not asking for help we'll just try to figure it by our self instead of just asking.
I believe one of the biggest problems/concerns adjusting from the pandemic is mental health concerns. Adjusting back to college life has also been a challenge learning how to get back out and the stressful classes aren’t making things any easier.
A challenge that we face is mental health. It has been said multiple times already, but it is the truth. With everything that we have seen during the pandemic or just in these past years, mental health should be one the focus for African Americans. We have seen so much on the news or on social media that we get so consume over.
I think one of the biggest challenges faced for black students is talking about mental health. in the black community, mental health is a topic that's mostly ignored. I feel like once we start having these discussions it would improve other things like creating relationships and motivation. - Damilola Adebisi
One of the biggest challenges is social interaction and mental health. Being forced to stay inside when we were going outside for most of our lives affected a lot of people negatively. Those who normally went outside experienced a lot of mental health decline and now that we are mostly back in person it doesn’t feel the same as before. -Maurius Gore
The biggest challenge for me to overcome was my focus. I could definitely say that without encouragement I had no motivation to continue to be my best self. Losing so much could set people back, forming connections so that we can lift each other up is crucial.
One of the most important challenges is mental health. Being stuck on quarantine for months had a huge impact and caused an increase in mental health illness. Not being able to live our lives regularly made it even harder to deal with our mental health and also caused lack of motivation.
As we emerge from and continue to deal with the pandemic I think one of the most important challenges to consider and discuss at SIUE concerning black students is the effect it had on our social and mental health. As people of color it's already hard for us to excel and succeed in a predominantly white institution and with the pandemic having to be isolated and separated it took away the opportunities to meet and connect with other people of color to help guide, teach, and support us. The pandemic caused many of us to lose focus and motivation.
The biggest challenge that black people face is connection or lack thereof. By connection, I mean a connection to each other, and to our faculty that could help aid us in this journey. It seems we're not able to really talk to one another without some barrier blocking us from each other (which has become increasingly more difficult during covid). Black students need to feel uplifted, supported, and shown that there are both resources for them to connect with and people with whom they can share experiences.
We need to talk more at SIUE about microaggression and mental health as they are prominent factors that affect black students. Since this is a mostly white school, other students would have no understanding or appreciation for the types of things we experience daily. There have been a few racially motivated incidents that have made me and others feel uncomfortable and left us with no one to turn to but each other. Black youth today need more resources and motivation to keep going.
I would say a challenge for black students would be mental health. Typically speaking mental health is seen more as a taboo in the community and we need to change that mindset. Coming out of lockdown people need to start seeing that mental health is just as important as physical health, and also provide a support system as well.
As far as the biggest issue concerning black students goes, I would say is has been hard connecting with fellow black students here at SIUE. Many of us are either extremely cautious of COVID protocols, or are just separated because of the amount of restrictions that COVID has placed on us. So, it has been really hard meeting new people and even going out and looking for other people.
I would have to say one of the biggest challenges would have to be the stigma of mental health. In the black community, mental illness was already a taboo topic pre-pandemic. All COVID has done is put a strain on mental health issues like depression, anxiety, etc. With the pandemic it's harder for yes people in general to get together and see each other, but especially for us people of color. We are the minorities, and sometimes us as minorities tend to be hidden and/or forgotten. Tying this all together, because of the isolation of our lives due to the pandemic, it's even more difficult for the black community to reach out and get help to treat these mental health issues.
One of the biggest challenges facing us is most definitely mental health and being able to connect with others again. I know for a lot of people staying at home for months took a toll on their mental health and having to adjust again isn’t very easy.
the challenges of black students definitely progressed over covid 19. With not a lot of mental health support at home because of cultural things, the pressure of returning to school and representing is hard when you have to put on a face to impress the masses. I hope SIUE listens to black students' problems and work through issues with them as we recover from these hard times.
I think one of the biggest problems within the Black population is mental health issues that many of us brush under the rug. It does not help that it is a little challenging finding Black people on campus, our classes our majority white so connecting and finding Black people to relate to has been difficult. In addition to that a lot of professors here are not educated on Black issues so when speaking on things it comes off ignorant and makes the space more uncomfortable.
The biggest challenge I think black people are facing right now is mental health. As a black person in COVID going to a PWI, my own mental health is not good. And with COVID and not being able to get proper help it makes things worse.
The biggest challenge I think black people are facing right now is mental health. As a black person in COVID going to a PWI, my own mental health is not good. And with COVID and not being able to get proper help it makes things worse.
Like others have said so far the biggest challenge black students face at SIUE concerning the pandemic would be mental health and interaction with other students of color. Depression and anxiety can build up during times like this, so trying your best to keep active in any way mentally or physically can help a great deal in keeping one's composure.
The biggest challenge that I think African Americans are facing right now in this life is that their mental health is destroyed. I think African Americans grew up in believe believing that there is no such thing as mental health or that you're "soft" for having feelings. I think that is the issue in today's society and especially with COVID-19.
COVID-19 was an epidemic that seemed quite frightening at the time of Spring 2020. To be honest, COVID-19 changed a lot of perspectives like being against the existence of the virus entirely; however, it can't be said that COVID-19 was the main reason for it. Conflicting perspectives is one of the biggest challenges for everyone, no matter the setting.
One of the most important challenges to consider at SIUE concerning black students like myself would be mental health specialty stress. I feel like due to COVID teachers are overloading us with homework and test. For me I tend to way too hard on myself because I know that I can do better.
The biggest challenge to consider for black men and women at SIUE is the ability to connect with other black people. I say this is challenging because we have to follow COVID-19 protocols, which automatically take away the normal form of meeting new people. I also say this is a challenge because COVID-19 and lockdown made some people not sociable, being that they were told to stay away from others for almost a year.
I would say one of the most challenging things right now for our black community is mental health. I feel as though in the last two years so much has happened and transpired that we all haven't actually taken it in or were taking it in too fast. This led to a lack of focus for me. I truly believe that our community should make it easier on us young adults that are currently trying to get through their mental issues and provide a living for themselves while remaining in college. Also, our environment comes off more Caucasians than blacks and we are not really used to that so it makes it harder to transition or even feel comfortable at a PWI. I feel as tho SIUE should let the black students do more things that other HBCUs universities participate in to make it better for us.
The biggest challenge is not being taking seriously as black students. We’re overlooked by some of our peers and even teachers. The expectations being set for us is the bare minimum. Amoya B.
I would say one of the biggest problems right now is mental. With the pandemic and having school cancelled before, it could bring anxiety to being in the campus. More events that brings the whole campus can help break it.
The biggest concern coming out of the pandemic for black students is making sure that our four pillars of well-being are being taken care of to include our mental and social state, physical health, and spiritual relationships. The pandemic has made it harder to connect with one another, more difficult to be productive, and during this time myself and many others have experienced some type of loss. It's not difficult to see how this period of time could compromise one of our four pillars, but moving forward it is important to maintain or heal if necessary because when one of these pillars is compromised it can make progressing through life difficult.
I think that the biggest challenge is mental health. Especially being in the pandemic, it's harder because many people of color have it the hardest with not being understood, not having access to resources for support. It's very important for the black community to stick together and help fight the stigma around mental health. We still haven't grasped all of what has happened since COVID-19 so supporting each other, raising awareness, and normalizing the importance of mental health is essential to combatting the stigma. -Ruth B.
The biggest challenge to me is overcoming our own mental battles. Everyone is going through it during these dire times and one might tend to beat themselves up mentally. Especially black men, with everything that's been going on from the beginning of the pandemic all the way to now. People are losing their drive to keep going but we all have to come together and lift each other up. - Aaron Crawford
I thought this scholarship opportunity was very cool and I’m surprised that I qualified for the scholarship at all. I enjoyed the very odd and disturbing stories I read from this book. I also liked looking at other people’s blogs and reading their thoughts on the stories. I let time get away from me, but I’m still glad that I had the opportunity to be a part of this project. The only thing that I had trouble with was uploading blogs to the blogger website, so that was upsetting, but overall I still got my work submitted and shared my thoughts on these stories.
As a black student at SIUE, it kind of seemed like it was hard to fit in because I didn’t really see a lot of people like me. I just wasn’t used to being around other races because I was so used to being around my own race all the time.
During the pandemic, I feel as if black people, like me, have faced more racism towards us. Due to this, I feel as if our self-esteem has dropped resulting in many black college students, like me, losing motivation in a way. I believe we will be able to pick ourselves up and accomplish much more.
One of the biggest challenges that I have faced as an African American student coming out of the pandemic is the loss of some of my family members and having to go through my last final years of high school via zoom and feeling like I was put on the backburner through my final years because not only was it affecting myself it would affect my teachers and their well beings as well. All these things have led up to the deterioration of my mental health and I'm sure some of my African American classmates as well and mental health is not something that is talked about often especially in the black community and i think it is change that slowly needs to happen and it will come together smoothly if we all work together to do this as well.
I think that one of the most important challenges African Americans students have faced during this pandemic is mental health. We have faced a variety of things from racial injustice, like with George Floyd and Breonna Taylor's deaths to being the main group to die from Covid-19 during this pandemic. All these serious issues being brought upon us, and including keeping up with school work has caused a strain on many African American students mental health. School is often harder for us because sometimes we don’t have the same resources as the others so we are forced to work our hardest to succeed. Nothing gets handed down to us.
One of the challenging things at SIUE as a black student during the pandemic is connecting with each other and having a sense of community. I often feel as though the black students here during the pandemic haven't really had the opportunity to meet and connect with other black students so that we can have people to talk to about issues that some of the other students that attend SIUE might not understand. As a freshman, It would have been nice if there were more black student organization events to attend, so that I could have a safe space where I know that I would be accepted.
I feel like the biggest challenge during the pandemic was the lack of motivation and mental health. Through the past two years of the pandemic happening a lot has changed, especially for student and significantly black students. We made a huge transition into adulthood during a time of vulnerability so as a school SIUE should slowly help us transition in the comfortable space we need in order to strengthen out mental health and improve our motivation.
The biggest challenge students of color have is the will to stay consistent with the hybrid system. The hybrid system proves to be stressful with both online and in person classes. Most kids would rather have school go back to normal than the new differences at hand.
- James Gladney
I believe that the biggest struggle coming out of the pandemic for black students today is getting us out of our comfort zones. The pandemic has forced us to stay inside for a long time now and now that things are starting to open back up people still don't want to go out.
Coming out of a pandemic I believe the biggest
challenge to be overcome are mental health cons. We
currently struggle with the increase in mental illness
and finding motivation to push through. The biggest challenge students of color face because
of the pandemic are our ability to develop intimate
connections with one another. Whether it is to advance
I believe the biggest challenge for black students is mental illness. The pandemic shut down a lot of opportunities to form and maintain bonds with people. Coming out of the pandemic and straight into college can be hard on a lot of people.
Personally I feel our mental health, as African Americans, should be more looked upon in college, especially since we’re new to this whole pandemic ordeal. I feel everyone should play a part in making everyone comfortable. I say this because, for example, I was assigned chemistry lab and I noticed I was the only African American and African American female at that, in the lab. At first I felt intimidated and felt everyone expected African Americans to be held at a higher level, especially our women. I felt uncomfortable in the lab because of all of the eyes on me but as the lab continued, I started to put that thought in the back if my mind. If everyone was to make each other feel comfortable, no one would be afraid of anything.
An important challenge to consider at SIUE is mental health and more social events for black students. Although we have had some, we need more. Most of the use students had their last year of high school online and missed many events to interact with their peers. Mental health became a more severe problem for black people, from fear of getting the vaccine, catching Covid-19, or even trying to pass a class from a lot of stress.
The biggest challenge at SIUE concerning black people is adjusting to our everyday lives coming out of the pandemic. Covid 19 has increased mental illness in young people. All these serious issues that's going on in our society today has made it very difficult and puts a lot of strain on us.
As we all continue to progress through this epidemic together, one of the few challenges which I believe our community will face may simply involve communication. Though this challenge may be especially relevant to the rest of the globe, this may be the only issue I can see being especially harmful towards SIUE black students.
The biggest challenge I believe to consider is the lack of motivation among black students. Coming out of pandemic and be very unmotivated I struggled the first couple of weeks at SIUE. I felt like I had no support and no one to talk too. I felt like if black students were more motivated and encouraged I wouldn’t have had that problem.
The biggest challenge African American students faced coming out of a pandemic in my opinion would be coping with mental illness and lack of focus. With everything that we have seen during the pandemic or just in these past years, mental health should be one the focus for African Americans.
The biggest challenge at SIUE concerning black people is adjusting to our everyday lives coming out of the pandemic. COVID 19 has increased mental illness in young people. All these serious issues that's going on in our society today has made it very difficult and puts a lot of strain on us.
I think that one of the most important challenges to consider is how to be motivated. Many African American students like me struggle to do well in class when the subjects we are learning about do not interest us. It is not like we do not want to do the work, we just find it hard to do something that does not interest us.
A challenge we might face now is like mental health and/or becoming more social again. I say that because we were on quarantine for year, and we were all locked up in our homes barely doing anything but losing our minds. I also say become more social because I feel like this pandemic has caused people to become antisocial such as myself. I try to get myself out of the antisocial phase, but nothing seems to work for me. Me being a black student here I tend to find it hard for me to socialize with other black students because I always fear that they might judge me and most of us are from different states so we might not click as well.
A major isssue us black students face is being untied with each other. I feel like we should stick together way more than we do now. Especially with facing and dealing with racism. If we were more untied, a lot of things that has happened to us wouldn't be possible only if we stood together.
The biggest challenge that students of color at SIUE face is mental health. It is a challenge because being a student of color at a predominantly white institution is really stressful on the black mind. Yes, there are resources but the awareness is few to none. I believe bringing more awareness will not only solve some of the mental health issues with the black community but the division as well.
The biggest challenge black students face especially since covid 19 is connecting with one another. I think this is a problem because us black students should be able to connect and depend on one another for support since we are attending a predominantly white school.
At present, division is a major challenge. Regarding covid vaccinations, I think there is a racial divide, but it is primarily among African American groups. Whether a person accepts the shot or not depends on their own individual circumstances, but I do not believe those who refuse it should be slandered or treated differently. Before covid, minorities and other groups were already divided, so you wouldn't think this is the time to unite for a shared goal. Those of us dealing with mental illness face a number of challenges. There has been an abundance of evidence to support this statement. Mental health should be one of the focus areas for African Americans, considering what has happened during the pandemic and in these past years. The news and social media bombard us with so much content that we get so consumed. We forget how much it affects our mental health.
For me one of the biggest challenges to discuss at SIUE concerning black students is the lack of daily networking. Ever since the pandemic a lot of face-to-face communications and experiences shave been moved online. Even though one can see something through a computer screen, they are not always able to feel and emotional connect to things. I think our feelings and emotions towards certain things help bind African Americans together as a community.
As black students, I feel as if we need to reestablish in person relationships with each other. I just read an article in English not too long ago that relates to this by Jean Twenge that mentioned the affects smartphones and social media have on mental health. Due to social distancing and finding ourselves in the house more often, we have been exposed to more connections with others through our fingertips which has greatly put a toll on some's mental health as they may thrive through in-person connections.
As we emerge from this pandemic, I think one of the most important challenges to consider is metal health. Throughput the course of this pandemic mental health numbers has risen substantially and has led many people into a downward spiral of depression. Black people like me have fought this the hardest and still fail to win against our own metal health.
I am concerned about how African American students will come back together as one. I feel that the pandemic put a barrier or a block on interactions. SO hopefully we all can have better communication with others because that's truly the key.
In terms of some struggles I've dealt with is being racially profiles while with my brother. I remember walking down the street with my lil brother we were 15 and 17 at the time. As we were walking three cop cars pulled us over and we were questioned over what we were doing.
No reasons for telling us why we were pulled over, and asking for information they really didn't need.
Along with surrounding my lil brother as if he was a criminal
I personally feel that the biggest challenge for us as a black community during this pandemic is finding people to count on. The black lives matter movement and the amount of police brutality have us left afraid. I find comfort in being at SIUE. I feel that our campus is very diverse, and I feel loved and appreciated. With this being said, there is still going to be racism no matter where we go. We just need to stick together as a community.
With the pandemic i would have say that one of the biggest challenges that we may face would be not asking for help when we need it. Having that sense that we are independent and we got it all by ourselves. For many reasons as if we do ask for help we might get made fun of for not knowing or be looked at as less of a student and or person.
The most challenging part of being in a pandemic has been mental heatlh. Due to isolation, we can't even tell if our heatlh is plummeting unlike how we would know with others around faster.
One of the most things that I think needs to be addressed Is the separation of organizations. I understand the purpose of some black organizations, but to make everything separate, and not include other races creates more division in my opinion. We are all students with different experiences and it is important to share that with other people with different experiences outside of our race.
The biggest concern and challenge of being a person of color after coming out of a pandemic is mental health. I lost motivation and don’t having energy to do anything anymore because I’m so used to being in a pandemic. When venting to a black family they don’t believe in things like mental health. It’s either “your too young to go through things” or “you’re making up an excuse to be lazy”. They don’t understand how mental health works and how bad it can affect a person.
One of the most important challenges to consider and discuss at SIUE concerning black students like me includes unity and reassurance. Most black students figure that college isn’t for them because they’re in college for the wrong reasons or in general have no friends around. I can resonate with black students, specifically from Chicago, because not only are we far from home, but this is a new environment and it’s easy to feel alone. If we have friends or even a concrete reason for being in college then it would be a more enjoyable experience.
Ma Kayla J.:
The Pandemic is still a very prevalent situation in our lives now and does not seem to be letting up very much, therfore getting used to our new realities is hard for all of us. I believe that a lot of people are now coming to college and no longer seeing the goals they set forth. its a lot of self-study which can be islotating. The rising tension and negativity of the pandemic and injustice does not help with our mental health. Therefore more positive groups of upperclassmen that could give some insite to diffrent programs and clubs would be a positive help.
The pandemic has been competition and the drive for excellence an even greater presence for black students than it has ever been before. Because black students are so often unawarded the privileges of some of our peers, the need to exceed every possible expectation has always been something that black students had to consider, especially when applying for and attending college. With how certain systems have changed to accommodate the pandemic, black students have had to not only put forth everything they had into succeeding but doing so while shifting our mentality to match the changing world around us in this current age.
I think that the most important challenge to consider and discuss at SIUE concerning black students like me is to keep the students on track with trying to adjust back into school after having 2 years of virtual classes. Also, to keep us mentally on track because for a lot of me like myself it’s very hard to be away from home.
One of the challenges is that we have no more motivation. For a whole year we have gone without teacher physically pushing us. To us it was no hope because with no support it was pointless. School was a breeze because we all went through the same thing and not the whole senior class going to have to retake the class.But hopefully one day we can come as one and change things to get back on track.
The thing that caught my attention the most was that people only wanted to mourn certain people. The other people were meaningless to them and they didn’t care about them while they were alive either. A lot of things in the story were too hard for people to talk about, like the cow and Freddie. The other unsettling thing is the cow. They had to watch a cow intake in their food. The cow was eating more than them all combined.
I believe the biggest challenge is mental health. We currently struggle with the increase in mental illness and finding motivation to push through. Many people dont have that motivation they had at the beginning of school. - LaShawn D
I think coming out of the pandemic we have a increase in mental health issue. Due to stress and the lack of togetherness it’s seems like everything is all over place. People may have lost their jobs because of covid, or lost love ones and it’s extremely terrifying. One day everything is good and the world is together and the next day theirs a big pandemic that has lasted for atleast a year or two.
I enjoyed reading the small stories it makes you think about the meaning behinds certain characters or objects within them and what they mean for the characters. They are so short that it makes you want to know what happens next. The reader, as an African American, can really connect to the characters and find some reality and personal experiences within these stories they read.
The biggest challenge is not being able to connect closer with peers. The only time we have had to meet people would be through classes with small amount of people, or our suitemates/roommates. For me and students I have talked to, all feel that its really hard to develop a connection with people because of the rules put in place.
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