Art by Samantha Miller
While there are immediate symptoms of COVID, some community members said they weren’t expecting symptoms after contagion.
One part of the pandemic, COVID brain fog, is causing individuals to feel unmotivated and confused. COVID brain fog occurs when an individual finds it difficult to think and focus after testing positive for COVID, according to The New York Times.
First-year Elliana Johnson tested positive for COVID at the beginning of 2022 and said she experienced COVID brain fog.
“When I got back to school, like the following week, I felt super unmotivated,” Johnson said. “I don’t know if that was like partially winter break things. But then, I had a three hour class Monday nights, I found it really hard to focus. And I started getting headaches from like trying to focus really hard, because I think I hadn’t done school in so long.”
First-year Brynn Oakley tested positive for COVID on Jan. 3 and said she was surprised by her new symptoms.
“It’s definitely been harder to motivate myself, to do my work and to not procrastinate as much or just put more effort into assignments and stuff, which has been kind of out of character for me,” Oakley said.
Not only is COVID difficult for students to deal with, but professors said they have had to learn how to work with students that are experiencing COVID brain fog.
Communications Professor Courtney Hook said she sees many of her students deal with brain fog and experienced it on her own too.
“I’ve definitely heard of brain fog, but it feels much more common since the pandemic started,” Hook said. “I think the transitions that came with COVID-19 really took a hit on students’ mental health. We went from learning online for nearly two years to — boom — face-to-face and all the expectations and energy that comes with that.”
Hook said she has found ways to handle this situation in her classroom.
“I try to do my best to acknowledge those moments in class, maybe plan for lighter days that take less brain power,” Hook said. “Sometimes I can feel the class spacing out and I just have to say say, ‘Alright, let’s take a breather.’ The power of a snack and text break can be a game changer.”
Some students, like Oakley, said they still feel COVID brain fog affecting their productivity in school, even months after testing positive. On the other hand, Johnson said it hasn’t affected her in the long term, only right after she had COVID. It seems like it lasts differently for people.
“If anything, I feel like it taught me to, like, learn how to concentrate more even when it’s like hard for me to concentrate,” Johnson said.
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