The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Opinion | The ‘pandemic skip’ has left many lost and confused

The “pandemic skip” is a real phenomenon that needs to be talked about more openly so those who feel lost are not alone.
Hannah Kinson
UI graduate instructors John Jespen (Department of History) and Kassie Baron (Department of English), and associate professor Megan Knight (Department of Rhetoric) discuss why they will only teach online classes in the upcoming semester during a press conference over Zoom on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. They say returning to campus is a health risk for students and faculty, as well as members of the community.

I may be about to graduate college, but the drastic effects of the pandemic have left me feeling like I am still 17 years old.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a widespread, uneasy feeling of lost time despite almost three years having gone by. Experts have labeled this feeling the “pandemic skip,” and it especially affected young people who were in the most formative years of their lives when the pandemic struck.

According to the New York Post, “Nova Cobban, a psychologist in the UK, describes the ‘pandemic skip’ as the sense that we missed out on growth milestones and opportunities that would have occurred during the years the world was on hold.”

The pandemic skip is a real phenomenon that affects many people deeper than they may realize. The lack of awareness around this topic is a problem and leaves those who felt lost and confused after the pandemic still lost and confused.

Cobban told The Post that people’s sense of passing time during the pandemic was lost. The Post quotes Cobban, saying, “Days would often pass without any new stimulus, significant change, or progress. It altered our perception of how much time was passing.”

Although many days felt like an illusion to some, the pandemic was three years long, so once it was over, no one wanted to discuss the effects or the often-posed “What do we do now?” question. Instead, they moved away from COVID and didn’t discuss the possible developmental or mental health problems it created.

The pandemic skip is especially problematic for the younger generation and developing minds.

Think about how important experiencing graduation or college visits are to our lives. Or prom, or the first year of college. When we miss out on certain moments that shape who we are and what we remember most in life, we are left feeling like something is missing or possibly still waiting for it to happen.

I know I feel this. I missed out on junior prom and the first half of my senior year. I never even got to tour college campuses and pick my favorite one. Now, I have two semesters left of college, and it still feels like I just graduated high school. It is terrifying.

Yamalis Diaz, a psychologist at NYU Langone Health, says this is a major delay in development for younger generations. She told FOX, “Young adults in particular may feel this impact when it comes to completing education, making career decisions, dating, establishing long-term relationships and becoming
financially independent.”

This delayed development will only continue and worsen if never addressed to the extent it needs to be. This is a problem that needs to be talked about in therapy, schools, and on the news. It is important, especially for the children that went through it.

According to KFF, 50 percent of young adults ages 18 to 24 reported anxiety and depression symptoms in 2023, making them even more likely than older adults to experience symptoms of mental illness.

Discussing this topic on a wider scale may help or encourage people, especially the younger generations, to get help. It will make them feel as if they are not alone. Then maybe, collectively, we can finally move on.


Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.


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About the Contributor
Hannah Kinson
Hannah Kinson, Assistant Visuals Editor, photo


Hannah Kinson is the Photo Assistant Visuals Editor at The Daily Iowan. Hannah is a senior majoring in journalism and mass communications with a writing certificate on the publishing track. This is her second year as a photojournalist at the DI and her third year at the university.