No matter where college students are living and learning, the COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted daily life. As a result, the well-being and mental health of students is of keen interest to parents, families, and universities worldwide. Between November 1 and 16, 2020, the Office of Undergraduate Education (OUE) Research team invited all Duke undergraduates to share their experiences with academics, social relationships, stress, mental health, and well-being during the fall semester, and 1,015 students responded (15.4% response rate). To provide context and a point of comparison for student responses during COVID-19, we drew on data from previous research conducted at Duke during more typical times.
These are some unprecedented times. In the past month, our students have experienced a lot to be grieving about, from a worldwide pandemic changing their everyday experience to the postponing of so many traditions and expectations on campus in an attempt to keep everyone safe. We continue to make choices on a systems level, which impact the day-to-day experiences that make the Duke community special. Our students are left to navigate the final month of the semester away from community and often feeling very alone. Students are home and surrounded by the love of family, but this is not the college experience for which they prepared. As a result, we are all grieving and longing for our world to return to some bit of normalcy.
This year, it is estimated that over 46 million turkeys will be consumed in this country on November 28, Thanksgiving Day. With mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing and pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving not only provides Duke students with a chance to visit with family and friends and take a well-deserved break from campus life, but it also gives all of us an opportunity to acknowledge and express our gratitude for the many things that make our lives meaningful and fun.
Families can play a critical role in the health and well-being of their college students. Your wisdom, guidance, and relationships help inform students’ decisions throughout college. We believe that parental conversations about alcohol, in particular, contribute to increased student safety, student ownership of their actions, and healthier and more positive experiences in college.
Parent and Family Programs and DuWell (Duke’s health promotion and wellness unit) developed the following video to spark conversations about alcohol use and social decision-making before your student arrives to Duke: https://youtu.be/kPd3vfKpzjM.
We suggest addressing the following in your conversations with your student:
Many folks around the nation have embraced the “Eat Local” movement, in regard to meat, produce and dairy, but not much attention has been paid to fish. EAT LOCAL FISH DAY on Tuesday, 9/25 will introduce you to sustainable seafood.
Please join Duke Dining and Bon Appetit Management Company at the Marketplace on East Campus on Tuesday, 9/25 at lunchtime, for the Eat Local Fish Challenge. Helpful apps, recipes and extensive research will be available to all and sustainable fish populations will be highlighted.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009:
Today is the day of all days. Today is the day I find out if I got accepted into Duke University. What a rush! It is 8 a.m., and I run to my computer. As I open my email, I see that I have ONE message in my inbox: the senderâDUKE UNIVERSITY. Should I open it? I was bombarded with a flux of emotions. I was torn between the possible excitement of being accepted and the potential disappointment of being rejected. But I HAD to check. Here goes nothing: click... YES!!!!!! The email read:
"Dear Stephanie Amador,
Congratulations! The Admissions Committee and I take great pleasure in offering you a place in the Duke University Class of 2013â¦"
My name is Jason and I am a rising junior who is a Neuroscience major and Chemistry minor, but have always had a passion for wellness and healthy living, especially in the Duke community. This fall, I will once again be a part of the True Blue cast, though I am currently in Beirut, Lebanon with DukeEngage accomplishing some great strides in tobacco regulation and smoking cessation in the Middle East. The city here is absolutely beautiful and the food is delicious! I encourage all of you to apply to DukeEngage in the future; it’s a very enlightening, challenging, and eye-opening experience.