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College seniors of 2021 reflect on the pandemic year, mental health issues

Four soon-to-be college graduates reflect on their mental health struggles faced this year and how prepared they feel to be done with school

SAN DIEGO — This year's graduating class of college seniors haven't had it so easy. Not only did they make it through years of higher education, they did it during a series of historical events that few experience in an entire lifetime.

A worldwide pandemic that impacted lives of millions, hate crimes against our AAPI communities and racial injustice in full view for the world to see. 

Through it all, this year's class jumped through tons of hurdles to get their education done. They deserve to be proud of this accomplishment.

But before the celebrations begin, News 8 spoke with four soon-to-be grads.

Ryley Becker from San Diego State, Joseph Hernandez from CSU San Marcos, Orianna Borrelli from UC San Diego and Rachel Steinheiser from University of San Diego.

They all navigated online school in some way and they all had significant challenges to overcome this year.

One of the most common issues was imposter syndrome.

Dr. Tiffany O'Meara is the director of Outreach Services for Counseling and Psychological Services at UC San Diego. She explained imposter syndrome as a strong stressor for young adult mental health.

Joseph from CSU San Marcos reached out to a therapist and recommends it to everyone.

With online learning came feelings of falling behind, isolation and missing out on in-person milestones.

But the resiliency of the class of 2021 speaks volumes. It also helps to be in this together.

Watch Related: University of California system eliminates SAT and ACT testing requirement (May 18, 2021)