Avi Joshi ‘26 is a prospective English and Education major. He is a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and Wind Ensemble. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed in the article are the author’s own.
Time to get serious.
I normally like to do more lighthearted articles — usually involving food — but I think this topic needs to be talked about: it just seems like mental health at the College of William and Mary is in the gutter. This assertion is a bit hyperbolic; I don’t have any statistics or research or really even many people I’ve talked to about this. Rather, I am going completely off my own observations.
So, what’s going on? What prompted me to try and tackle this subject? Honestly, I have felt like the overall mental health of the student body has been on a slow decline since the beginning of the semester. This decline mainly started when the construction on campus began to pick up. The Flat Hat has already published numerous articles on what the construction has done to the College, so I won’t spend too much time on this. But, seriously, the construction has ruined aspects of campus life that were once quite enjoyable. The amount of greenery that has been destroyed in an effort to race to some kind of utopian campus model is completely unfair. The construction feels like the administration is tossing current students to the side in order to create resources that we will never even benefit from or utilize. And, worst of all, it makes the campus ugly as hell. I’m sorry, but it just isn’t as fun to walk around campus anymore. Now, I can’t help but notice the destroyed foliage and loud construction noises as I try to sip sh-tty coffee from the Sadler Center.
Besides the construction, dining has been a serious problem. While the quality of food has increased slightly since last year, the amount of options for students has been cut. Last year, we had Drips and Sips, swipes could get you a lot of food from multiple places and even Marketplace used to be a respectable dining hall. Now, the only consistent places to get food are the Commons (better known as Caf) and Sadler. Drips and Sips have been removed almost everywhere but a few select places on campus, and despite changing our food provider going into this semester, the quality has not gotten substantially better, which is most evident when looking at Sadler and Caf. I think that Caf has way better food than Sadler, but in reality, both dining halls should be equal in food quality.
I think that a big reason mental health seems to have gotten worse on campus is due to the general student body lacking adequate food options that are necessary to maintain the academically rigorous schedule that the College asks of students. It is hard to find good food on campus, and there have been very few meals that I have eaten from dining halls that haven’t left me feeling bloated, tired and nasty.
These problems have contributed to a further division between students and administration. It just doesn’t really feel like the College cares about its current students. Horrible food quality, irritating construction and the wave of mid-semester blues has all added up, and it makes us feel pushed to the side. And I know it may seem like I am complaining a bit too much, but there is no real other option. Maybe I should go to the Wellness Center, where they don’t stay open on weekends or provide a form of counseling that has been worthwhile for my personal needs. The point is that students do not have that many options or resources to help deal with mental health.
I am tired. And I know that I am not the only one who feels drained. Maybe this is just mid-semester blues, but I still think it’s an important topic of discussion. Wave after wave of work, meetings, classes, social events and more just keep crashing onto the student body — and it’s getting more difficult to get through each wave. I am positive that other people on campus feel the same way I do, and I don’t necessarily know what advice to give because I don’t know what will work for everyone because I haven’t figured out at all what the hell works for me.
But what I can say is talk to the people around you and just ask how they are doing. It goes a long way when you remind someone that you care about them and the student body needs to look after one another. So talk to your friends, call your mom (she probably wants to talk to you) and lock in for this last push of the semester. Then, finally, we can all get a break we wholeheartedly deserve.