Student Research Week: The Toll of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Life of College Students

Sarah de Silva, a UCF graduate student, has always been interested in helping young people, and inspired some of her research on the COVID-19 Pandemic, which she will present at the Student Scholar Symposium. This is part of Student Research Week, which is free and open to the public and will take place this week at the Student Union.

Bridgeport, Connecticut, Indigenous, diverse undergraduate and graduate students are interested in the way Pandemic handles stress – from financial challenges to the psychological stress of adapting to zoom suggestions and the sense of isolation that many follow. She wanted to help and give students the opportunity to share their concerns. This is how this graduate teacher and research assistant came up with the idea of ​​”Covid, Inequalities, Health: A Sociological Analysis of Resistance Discovered in Unique Student Life Experiences.”

“I (Medical Sociology) pursue new avenues for improving the health of marginalized individuals affected by inequalities, stress, and adversity because there is still a lot of work to be done throughout interdisciplinary research,” says da Silva. She plans to become a professional researcher after graduating this spring.

As part of Student Research Week, we asked Da Silva to talk to us about why she is doing research and why it is important.

What is your research examining and how does it affect the community?

My research explores how the COVID-19 pandemic affects the daily lives of marginalized adult students and how they respond through immunity.

What do people need to know about your research?

My research shows unique perspectives on the adverse conditions of adult students, and suggests ways to improve existing programs in educational and health institutions that can make a difference in the lives of many people.

Why is research important to you?

Research is important to me because it can provide knowledge about the kind of problems that currently exist in our world that are not always visible to the public, and provide not only informed facts, but also practical suggestions on how to implement social change.

What did you find in the research project you are presenting in the showcase?

As a result, specific patterns emerged from the descriptions of how to live in a pandemic and created four broad categories: health, coping, stress, and social support. Overall findings indicate that diverse undergraduate and graduate students clearly show different types of copying in crisis situations. In addition, some individuals with the presence of community support can thrive instead of surviving difficult times while dealing with their mental and physical health problems. Students deal with stress, including education, work, relationships, and discrimination, while coping with their past anxieties, depression, illness, and illness concerns that were exacerbated during the Pandemic. However, some of these barriers were mitigated by coping strategies (e.g., self-care, religious practices, exercise, and meditation) acquired from support networks (e.g., therapists, colleagues, peers, family, etc.). ). Overall, the student resistance in the descriptions shows different perspectives on their daily struggles before and after COVID-19, providing insight into the unnecessary needs that need to be addressed as components at the individual and structural levels of our education and health systems to improve well-being.

Why did you choose UCF?

I chose UCF because I really liked how there were so many opportunities here within such a large institution and the potential for interdisciplinary research growth through programs with faculty. Over the years I have heard about the university through my own visits to Orlando. I traveled a lot, not only to call home, but to open the doors of my career path and I knew Orlando was a great place.

Do you speak another language?

I speak some other languages. I know Portuguese better than Spanish, but I would say I know a decent amount of both.

What are some of your hobbies?

My hobbies include running, exercising, playing viola, baking, traveling and doing or creating something new in the community.

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