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protect the pack, mental health, USD, undergraduate, students, COVID-19, coronavirus


When the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic surfaced in 2020, it produced disastrous consequences worldwide. COVID-19 is an infectious disease that produces a myriad of symptoms ranging from cold-like manifestations, to respiratory illnesses, to death (Coronavirus, 2020). The impacts of COVID-19 can be felt physically, financially, and emotionally. As of February 21, 2021, 27,700,000 cases and over 490,000 deaths related to COVID-19 have been reported in the United States alone. (CDC, 2020). While several vaccinations against the virus have been developed and over 61 million doses have been administered, COVID-19 leaves behind numerous lingering consequences (CDC, 2020). One understated consequence is its impact on mental health. The uncertainty, social isolation, loss of loved ones, and economic insecurity generated by the pandemic can produce detrimental effects on individual mental health (Cullen et al., 2020). However, when the impact of COVID-19 is compounded with the vulnerability indicators generated by the university experience, college students are at even greater risk. College can be a stressful time for many students who are coping with academic pressure, separation from family, are balancing multiple tasks (such as work and school), and beginning to develop their sense of self (Pedrelli et al., 2015). Preliminary research identified that the pandemic has caused an increase in stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms among college students (Kecojevic et al., 2020; Son et al., 2020). The majority of this literature comes from cross-sectional studies that were conducted externally to the United States. The current interview-based study will utilize a qualitative approach to explore the impact of COVID-19 on college students attending a midsize midwestern university. By understanding the lived experiences of these students, we can hope to highlight the unique challenges facing US college students and identify appropriate resources and intervention strategies to help them be successful.

First Advisor

Leah M. Seurer

Research Area