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EPSTEIN | Take a Hike

The vast majority of Cornell students who have chosen to return to campus this fall arrived with sky-high anxiety. The challenges of hybrid online and in-person courses, new social-distancing rules which are prevalent in nearly every facet of the college experience, family financial hardships and, of course, the concern for health and the health of our loved ones is on everybody’s mind. For incoming freshmen, it’s all of the above with the added test of the fall being their first time living independently, without an established support system. Students, professors and faculty, we’ll all be rapidly adjusting to new routines on top of the regular rigor of higher education. Let’s agree that it’s going to be extremely stressful, and that maintaining mental health is vital to making the most out of learning in person.

Since moving to remote instruction Cornell Health's mental health services have been made available through telehealth, but these services are only part of the response to the mental health needs of Cornell's Black community.

Mental Health for Black Cornell Students Requires Not Just Therapy, but Policy Change

The day to day experience of racism exacerbates mental health concerns for many Black people in the United States, including on Cornell University’s Ithaca campus.

Both Dr. Jacque Tara Washington, LCSW-R, Doctor of Social Work and Cornell Health clinician, and multiple Cornell students expressed a desire for systematic change to create a welcoming environment for Black student wellness.

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SMITH | Don’t Forget Your Headphones

A pair of headphones, earbuds or —  dare I say it — AirPods fall into the same level of necessity as backpacks when it comes to college student essentials. There’s nothing quite like the drop in my stomach when I realize that I left my headphones in my dorm, doomed to a day without music to get me through my walks across campus and those awkward interactions I’d rather avoid by jamming out to Frank Ocean. Headphones even got an honorable mention in Martha Pollack’s New Student Convocation last semester for their widespread use around campus. The science regarding music and mental health isn’t fully conclusive, but there is some evidence linking music with positive health outcomes. Anecdotally, I know what I’m listening to deeply impacts (and is impacted by) my mental health.

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SMITH | The Price of Perfectionism

As Cornell students we have a distinct sense of being groomed for our Perfect Lives. Raised to get perfect scores on standardized tests. Told even our extracurriculars, activities  typically meant to allow us to unwind and explore interests that are not scaled or critiqued like assignments, will come under scrutiny for their ability to improve or say something about us to others. Society has been grooming us since birth to be part of the perfect future workforce and gave us the technology to be constantly working, be it building a personal brand or receiving an email at midnight about class the next day. This push for hyper-optimization makes even leisure time an opportunity for greater productivity.