Posted: Thursday, July 21, 2022
Media Contact: RVC Public Relations, 815-921-4510
By now, it is not a secret that the pandemic has impacted the mental health of college students across the nation. According to BestColleges.com, "over 90% of college students have experienced negative mental health symptoms due to the pandemic."
Some students, like RVC's Karina Martinez, found the transition to online classes and the solitude of the pandemic to be most challenging.
"My first semester at RVC was the fall of 2020 when COVID-19 impacted all of us. I was uncomfortable taking online classes and felt miserable not having any social interaction from school," said Karina. "Because of my confusion and depression, I could not fully focus on schoolwork."
After that challenging first semester, Karina, a 2020 graduate of Jefferson High School, stopped attending RVC. Karina returned to try again in the fall of 2021 and continues to work towards her goal of becoming an RN.
When asked what has changed since she first started in 2020, Karina explained, "this time, I really put myself out there in clubs as well as talking with my professors and classmates. It has made the experience more enjoyable and has given me the want to go to school every morning."
And she has done that. Karina is a Peer Advisor in the First Year Experience Office and is the Student Government Association President, where she advocates for students and campus involvement.
RVC Student Activities Coordinator Sheila Ogbevire agreed. "She is a leader in helping students' concerns and voices be heard inside the club and on campus."
"Be a part of something! No matter what you're into - theater, gaming, or even just planning events for the school - join a club or organization. It helps you meet people easier and faster than only being in class," said Karina.
While the pandemic still lingers on, the college support systems have helped Karina excel both in and out of the classroom. "RVC has helped me pursue my goals by having helpful resources such as the writing center. There are amazing and friendly staff members and peers around campus."
She continued, "Everyone helps each other, and there isn't any feeling of isolation when being part of a club. Everyone is always open and welcoming to new members, and in my experience, there isn't any discrimination or battle to outdo one another. It truly feels like we are all together, one club."
Throughout high school, Karina imagined herself going straight to a university. Ultimately, that was not the path she chose. "I decided to take the community college route. The affordable choice has eliminated my stress of going severely in debt, and my experience at RVC is similar to any other 4-year institution I might have selected."
Karina has big plans after RVC. After becoming a nurse, education is still in the cards for her as she intends to keep going until she completes her doctorate in nursing.
She concluded, "Rock Valley College has made me proud of being a student in this institution. Put into your experience at college life; it makes all the difference."