How social media plays a role in anxiety and depression for college students

Some would say when you reach college, you start to reach that phase of your life before adulthood. If you’re stressed, should you blame it on teachers, blame it on yourself, or blame it on social media?

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, some factors that cause social media anxiety disorder are interrupting conversations to check your social media accounts, telling people how much time you spend on social media when the reality is another story, using your phone in class and avoiding work to share posts on specific websites. Thirty percent of college students spend more than 12 hours per week and this could lead to them isolating themselves from their work, friends and family.

A study by Stanford’s Children Health found that suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15- to 24-year-olds. There are 25 attempted suicides to one suicide that happened. Females are more likely to commit suicide than males. The study found that 34 percent of students suffered from cyberbullying and only 38 percent admit it to their parents.

Limiting social media usage

A 2018 University of Pennsylvania study monitored 143 undergraduates reducing their use of social media to 10 minutes per platform, per day. The results showed reductions in loneliness and depression.

Research also shows that using social media more than usual can’t just cause anxiety, but also attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, problems with mental functioning and paranoia.

Studies by the American Psychological Association show that college students who use Facebook show signs of psychological disorders like staying away from family members and not being involved in group activities. Students who checked Facebook at least once during a 15-minute period got lower grades.

For one student, social media
is a positive ‘getaway’

Jonathan Pelaez, 18, a liberal arts major is his second semester at Suffolk, said he believes social media can be a getaway from stress.

“Whenever I’m thinking of a test grade, I go on Twitter or Instagram to watch some videos to help me laugh and forget about the test,” Pelaez said. “I definitely don’t think it solves all my problems, but it sure helps me get away with problems in college and life in general.”

Although social media may have negative impacts, it would be unfair to not look at the positives it may provide. Social media provides a method of communication for students and an easy way to message each other through apps like Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and iMessage. Another advantage that social media provides to college students is being able to gain more knowledge, there’s easier access to relationships.

According to Techjury.net, the use of social media, college students can also feel belittled by watching others party or be intimidated by others for their grades, which leads to cyberbullying. For example, if there’s a party happening, and you didn’t get invited you’re going to feel some type of way. Instead of trying to get invited to the next one, you shut yourself off and don’t make an effort for it because you have accepted defeat.

Photo: Jonathan Pelaez, 18, a liberal arts major.

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Why do students choose SCCC? 5 people share their stories

Every student at Suffolk County Community College has a different story and a different purpose for attending the school.  Some say it’s the convenience of being close to home. Others seek to save up before transferring someplace else. Others either are still “looking to find themselves” or have come across hurdles in their lives that Suffolk is helping them to overcome.

Here are five people who shared their reason for choosing to come to Suffolk.

Jamie Gilmore, 19
Business retail management

Gilmore, of Middle Island, is a business retail management major. She originally attended Florida Atlantic University last year, but found that to be cost prohibitive.

“It was so expensive to go to FAU, especially since I live here on Long Island. Suffolk is so much more convenient,” Gillmore said. “Plus, I don’t have to worry about eating bad food from the cafe or spending my working money on some decent food. It’s nice to be able to come home every day to a nice home-cooked meal. Going away to college isn’t meant for everyone, but I’m just glad that I at least tried it to see for myself.”

Tanner Bardes, 20
Liberal arts major

Bardes, 20, of Wading River, at first said he wasn’t sure why he came to Suffolk.

“I guess since I saw all of my friends and siblings going to college, I just caught a [Fear of Missing Out],” said Tanner, who said he has a passion for creating music.

“There’s so many times that I believe that I’m wasting my time here when I could be making music and building my portfolio, you know I’ve always enjoyed music so much and eventually I want to be either a rapper or a producer or maybe even both.”

Vincent Alvino, 19
Liberal arts major

Alvino, 19, of Coram, said he’s “Honestly not sure what I want to do yet. Coming here to SCCC is convenient. It isn’t expensive. It gives me options of potential future career opportunities, and it gives me options to go to other schools,” Alvino said. “This is exactly what I need.”

Sydney Geddes, 19
Occupational therapy assistant

Geddes, of Medford, is an occupational therapy assistant and was originally going to the University of Cortland for track until an unfortunate turn in events occurred in her family.

“My dad lost his job and couldn’t help me with my loans for Cortland” after a long sigh, Sydney continued to say “For now, I’m going to make the best of my time here and get my associates degree and then transfer to Stony Brook to finish up.”

“It was early August.” She paused to gather herself after getting choked up. “August 12, 2018, to be exact. I was in my room, checking off items on my list of things to bring upstate with me to college and I heard a knock on my door. I saw both of my parents come in and close the door behind them. My parents never knock and they never both come into my room at the same time so I knew something was up. My heart began to beat nearly out of my damn chest.”

“Depressed wasn’t even the word to describe how I was feeling,” she continued. “But little did I know, this was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I can stay home in my nice comfy bed, keep my job while going to school, and I don’t have to do track anymore so it’s the best of both worlds.”

 

Students, school seek more conversation about mental health

Mental health is often a subject college students shy away from, or make sly jokes about. But it’s a major problem.

Consider that 80 percent of students feel overwhelmed by their academic responsibilities and only 60 percent of these students seek help, according to the National Alliance in Mental Illness. Fifty percent say these struggles affect their grades.

At SCCC, it is a topic dedicated to small sections of professors’ syllabuses, and one small collection of pamphlets in the Health Services Office. 

Mental health issues include but are not limited to: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, addiction and feeling suicidal. The signs can be difficult to spot depending on how the person copes with them, which makes offering aid to those who are struggling that much harder. 

It’s harder to reach out to students who need help at transient schools like Suffolk, experts say.

“The stigma has changed in more recent years, but it’s still difficult to talk about mental health,” said 26-year-old Evan Haun, the coordinator of Mental Health Services on the Ammerman campus, “We try to make ourselves as accessible and seen as possible, visiting as many classrooms as we can to decrease the anxiety of the issue.” 

The transient problem

Suffolk offers many services that fit all types of students, from group sessions to individual counseling, which includes three to five sessions with a counselor. A new service being offered is creative arts therapy, which involves creating paintings, 3D sculpture and other forms of art to help express how one is feeling if they don’t have the words to. Every service is confidential, excluding immediate emergencies, Haun said.

Another option is a group activity called Wind Down Wednesdays that takes place during Common Hour in the Meditation Room of the Babylon Student Center.

While it’s focus isn’t necessarily on mental illness, it does seek to bring comfort and relaxation to those who may feel stressed from school or outside issues. During the meetings, they enjoy meditating, coloring and aromatherapy.

Students interviewed this story said they felt the issue is “extremely important,” and something that should at least be addressed at the beginning of semesters.

However, they said it is one seldom discussed by professors.

“The only time I can remember mental health being discussed in class was psychology, and it was discussed thoroughly. Other than that, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a professor bring it up,” said 19-year-old Stevie Adams, a Radio/TV major from Selden.

The mental health department also feels professors have a sort of responsibility to make the services known to their students.

“It was a hard push to get professors to include information about our services, but I’m happy we did because we’ve seen a considerable increase in the amount of students coming in for sessions. When we ask where they heard about us, they’ll usually say their professors referred them,” Haun said.

How can we address the problem better?

As far as what they feel could be done to improve the issue, answers ranged from creating polls, to simply being more vocal and starting a more open conversation within the campus.

“I think some sort of email survey could help so administration and the staff would know where to go from here,” said 20-year-old Jovian Schaeffer, a liberal arts major from Middle Island.

When asked about what could be improved about the school’s approach, Adams said, “I think Suffolk should let us know that this is a safe space to make anyone with any sort of mental health issue feel like they’re not alone.”

Men’s, women’s basketball advance in NJCAA playoffs

Suffolk’s men’s and women’s basketball teams both advanced to the second round of the NJCAA conference playoffs this past week.

The undefeated men’s team faced Dutchess Community College and soundly defeated them 84-50.

In the first half, Suffolk and their suffocating defense played a big role, limiting their opponent to 20 points. In the second half, they displayed their artillery, outscoring their opponent 52-30.

Tyree Grimsley was a figure with 24 points, six rebounds and three steals, Steven Tynes had 19 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and four steals. James Signer had 12 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and Jaye Bookhart had ten 10 points.

With this win, the Sharks move on to the Regional XV Semifinal where they will face Queensborough Community College this Saturday at 7:15 p.m. at Borough of Manhattan Community College.

They had two previous meetings this season, with the Sharks being victorious in both games. They averaged 91 points per game and held their opponent to 68 points.

The women’s basketball team defeated Borough of Manhattan Community College 52-37 in the first round of playoffs. They go on to play Nassau Community College for the second round of playoffs at Borough of Manhattan Community College on Saturday.

Suffolk basketball heads to playoffs after historic 24-0 record

Suffolk’s basketball team capped off a historic season Feb. 19 with a 123-45 rout of the Borough of Manhattan Community College,  completing the regular season with a perfect 24-0 record.

The Sharks, ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA, are set to play Dutchess Community College in the Section XV Division III conference playoffs in the Ammerman campus Brookhaven Gymnasium at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

The team had not previously ended a season undefeated. Suffolk has beaten Dutchess twice this season.

Standout point guard Steven Tynes, who coach Victor Correa has described as the team’s leader, led the way for the Sharks in the win against Manhattan (20-8), scoring 29 points. He also had five rebounds, 10 assists and eight steals.

“It feels great. We worked hard all season. The results speak for themselves,” Tynes said. “It means everything to be a leader. I push everyone and they all push me.” 

Tynes had strong backup. Ryan Graziano had 16 points and seven rebounds. James Signer had 19 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks,  and Tyree Grimsley added 15 points, nine rebounds and eight steals. RJ Walker had 12 points. Jon Agostino added four points and 10 assists.

Last season, the Sharks had three losses, all coming against Nassau County Community College. But this year, they topped Nassau in both of their two matches. “It means everything. It’s nice to beat Nassau, our direct rival. We worked a bit harder this year,” Signer said.

The Sharks averaged 91 points per game this season, while allowing 71 points. They shot 50 percent from the field and held their opponents to a low 39 percent. They shot 37 percent from beyond the arc while holding their opponents to 32 percent. They also averaged 39 rebounds, 22 assists, 12 steals and six blocks per game.

“I think a lot of people fail to realize the work ethic of this team,” said Kyle Dowd, 18, a radio and TV major who in his second semester at Suffolk who attended eight games this year. “They’ve been displaying this type of basketball all year and the results showed in the 24 games they’ve played this year,” Dowd said. “They really wanted this game against Nassau. You could tell.”

Tynes finished the season averaging 21 points, 9.5 assists and 3.6 rebounds shooting 50.2 percent from the field. Grimsley averaged 18 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 71 percent from the field. Graziano averaged 13 points shooting 45 percent from the field.

Jaye Bookhart, who averaged 11 points while nailing three assists and three boards, shooting 44 percent from the field, said the team has to go into the playoffs with a specific mindset.

“In playoffs, everyone is 0-0,” he said. “We’re going back to the basics and keep getting buckets.” 

SUNY Provost Laursen calls for expansion of online courses

SUNY Provost Tod A. Laursen said during a visit to Suffolk’s Ammerman campus Feb. 21 that the state system is planning an aggressive expansion of its online courses and several other innovative initiatives to help it grow and adapt.

“We’re going to make a real push into the online space,” said Laursen, who was appointed in September as SUNY’s chief academic officer, to a group of more than 100 faculty, staff and students in the Montauk Point Room of the Babylon Student Center.

“Even though the system was early [in offering online courses], we don’t have very many exclusively online learners.”

Laursen said the courses not only offer flexibility to some potential students, but also are important to advancing the system’s reputation.

Laursen also said SUNY is looking at “micro-credentialing” options.

The system’s ultimate goal, Lauren said, is not to just enroll students, but to have them complete their degrees.

“I think the challenge for the system academic office is to try to actually help where it can and stay out the way where it can,” said  Laursen, whose job is to work with all of the system’s 64 campuses.

In response to a student’s question about how SUNY gets students involved in the process of developing new programs, Laursen said he believes there’s room for students’ voices to be more prominent. 

Laursen also touched on open education resources, or materials developed by faculty. OER materials could be used to dramatically reduce textbook costs and provide up-to-date information. 

While not many faculty members in the audience said they used OER material, Paul Beaudin, vice president for academic affairs, said Suffolk is the third-largest user of OER materials in SUNY, and the college has received a small grant from the system to support its initiatives.

Two conferences were held on the subject and another workshop on this is planned for Professional Development Day on March 12, he noted in a follow-up email to faculty and staff.

SCCC needs a sports recreational club

There are many different clubs and activities at SCCC that students can get involved in on campus. They range from the Disney Club to the Astronomy Club to the Hogwarts at Suffolk Club.

With the weather getting warmer and even for the beginning of the school year in the fall, I believe that we should try and form a sports recreational club, in which students who are not on sports teams at school  can play a pick-up game of any sport, such as flag football, baseball, basketball and volleyball during common hour.

I feel that if students could create this club students can have an opportunity during common hour so that they can be outside and be playing a sport that they enjoy.

Creating a recreational sports club here on campus could benefit multiple students who want an opportunity to play a competitive sport for their enjoyment.

Thomas Bell, 20, a liberal arts major, says that creating this club would give students that used to play sports an athletic outlet to help them stay in shape.

Bell also believes that students can use the club to use it as a stress reliever by doing something they love and taking them off the classroom mindset.

John Ricciardelli, 24, a liberal arts major, says that he believes if the club is created, it gives the opportunity to someone who is a non-student athlete the opportunity to play on a recreational sports team for fun.

Ricciardelli also wants the club to be created because students should be able to play sports for fun. Ricciardelli feels it’s a great way to make friends and have a great experience.

This club should be created because it gives the students an interactive club along with one that revolves outdoor events. It gives the enjoyment to a bunch of kids with the same interest in sports to just have a good time.