A normal semester for SDSU students met with happiness and challenges

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BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — Compared to last fall, this semester is dramatically different for college students, which of course impacts their families and other people close to them.

Life on campus in Brookings is a little more normal compared to last fall.

“I’ve been a lot happier this year cause I’ve been going out a lot more. Last year I felt like I was like caged in my dorm and especially through winter when it was just dark all the time and stuff, it wasn’t that great, but I feel like a lot of people are happier. Having more fun. Feel like they can actually enjoy themselves,” SDSU sophomore Gage Miskimins said.

“Just human interaction. Not being stuck at home as much, and I think also not having to wear masks as much. Just actually seeing people’s faces and being able to smile at people, I think it really helps,” SDSU senior Cassidy Thyen said.

Instruction on campus this semester is like it was before the pandemic. However, being back on campus can cause some anxiety or depression. Jessica McLaughlin, assistant director of the student health and counseling clinic, says they are seeing more students this year with anxiety.

“If you have anxiety to begin with and you have to go through a period like we did in the last couple of years where we were more isolated. We’re more in our own element. Our own environment that we create. It is going to be harder to go back out into some of the normal routine of the world, so I think that definitely we see some of that anxiousness,” McLaughlin said.

At SDSU, there are resources students can use if they are feeling anxious, depressed or just need someone to talk to on campus.

“If a student is experiencing anxiety or depression at any level or just not feeling like themselves, other than just going to counseling, which is always welcome to our students. We do individual counseling. We have done couples counseling. We have a variety of group counseling options available to students, but there’s also other campus entities that they can use,” McLaughlin said.

One organization students can join is Lost & Found, which focuses on suicide and depression awareness. They had a display on campus this past week.

“Every year we do the white flags in front of the union for Suicide Prevention Month, which is Septemberr, and it just kind of brings awareness to the issue,” Thyen said.

If you need help, you can call the Helpline Center at 211.

Mental health resources at some South Dakota universities:

South Dakota State University

University of South Dakota

Augustana University

University of Sioux Falls

Dakota State University

Northern State University

Black Hills State University

Mount Marty University

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