Psychological Well-being of First-year Psychology Students Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
University life is always colorful, filled with a plethora of memorable moments, both academic and non-academic. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, however, first-year university students’ academic experiences might be slightly different from their expectations due to being fully conducted in online learning. The COVID-19 pandemic denied first year students the opportunity to join the face-to-face classes and become involved in university’s activities in the real setting. All activities were replaced with virtual setting and they could only contact their course mates and lecturers via social media platforms. This derailment of their expectation to experience real-life university settings may dampen their enthusiasm and impact their motivational and happiness levels. To explore the phenomenon, a study was conducted with 143 first-year psychology students to examine their self-reported motivational and happiness levels before and after seven-week of online classes. This study included 113 females (79%) and 30 males (21%) with a mean age of 20.68 (SD=1.88). Data collected revealed that students’ motivation and happiness levels declined significantly after their online classes. According to their extent of agreement with the single statement ‘Overall, I am happy with my university life’, 48 (33.60%) students agreed, 76 (53.10%) were neutral, and 19 (13.30%) indicated dissatisfaction. This study may assist the university and relevant authorities in understanding students’ perceptions of dealing with academic and life challenges through online classes amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, psychological strategies should be considered to enhance first-year students’ motivation and happiness levels when faced with online classes in their new first semester.
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