With the recent COVID-19 crisis, many schools are implementing a lot of new changes from working remotely to postponing commencement in May. Many are scared. Others are worried. The unknown is super nerve-wracking.
As a lot of unknown and disruption in our daily lives occur, we spoke with seven Gen-Z college students across the country, scared and worried about what their schools are doing and how they’re dealing with all of the lockdowns, self-isolation, and keeping it together through these trying times.
Below, in their own words…
Leeks, 24, Senior at University of New Haven, @leekycrowder
“COVID-19 has impacted my day to day life most by the fact that internship programs are getting canceled.
I can’t go out in public and do all the things I’ve been scheduled to do in terms of networking, social events, meeting up with friends. I have to use whatever money I’m getting this month from the government to get groceries because of social distancing and quarantine. I have been able to finesse and delay bills because of it.
I began commuting to school and moved back to my hometown of Long Island, New York in 2019 so I do not have to deal with the dorms. I currently have 10 credits left to complete. From what I was told via emails, campus news articles and friends, everyone has to evacuate the dorms. The only folks who are allowed to stay in the on-campus dorms are international students, people who live 300+ miles away and students who have special circumstances.
Some professors have been empathic because of the rapid spread of the coronavirus. I have two professors (and granted this is online classes we signed up for before the coronavirus came into the picture) who pushed back due dates and even allowed students to submit late assignments.
Because of the outbreak, I am frequently washing my hands, keeping my room clean, and keeping myself busy through tv shows, movies, music, and lastly praying.
To be honest, I haven’t really figured out how to mentally stay calm during this time. But I have done things like, recently got a subscription to the headspace app, attend tarot card readings, and lastly would say music is my savior at the moment.”
Serenity: 21, Second Semester Senior at New York University, @sophieisserene
“I had a trip planned to Paris for Spring Break, but because of the outbreak, I ultimately decided to cancel my plans in order to do my part in containing the coronavirus.
NYU has notified students living on campus that they must be out of the dorms no later than March 22 and they cant come back for the remainder of the semester. Students are only allowed to stay on campus for ‘exceptional reasons that require you to stay in New York and the bar will be high.’ Room and board will be prorated but they basically said, ‘Everyone go home.’
I wouldn’t say NYU has done anything to ease panic because they basically were like, ‘Classes are online, leave the dorm, very sorry and I know this is unexpected but thanks for being flexible, bye!’ I can say though that even though I don’t work on campus they sent out an email about working on paying the students that were on federal work studies so that they will still get paid through the rest of the semester.
My job is closed (NYC Public School) and of course, classes are all online and I might not get to have a graduation ceremony. Because of how aggressive coronavirus is spreading, I’ve been way more conscious of my body, where my hands are going, what I’m touching, how often I’m washing my hands and for how long.
I am now practicing social-distancing by just staying in my apartment. I did my grocery shopping already so now I’m looking at just staying home.
‘Everyone go home.’
All in all, to stay calm I only read credible sources and tell myself to remember the facts, and that it’s not just some completely unknown monster to completely lose your mind over but it is something serious and what the logistics of it are — what precautions to take, what are the symptoms, etc.
I mentally coach myself about thinking to the future when this all dies down and how Paris will still be there and Universities are gonna come up with some way to make commencement up to us.
Right now, we have to just take it easy, watching Netflix, eating snacks that I normally wouldn’t, and taking this as a time to just stay home and practice self-care. To have some sort of normalcy in all this, I would suggest doing some Spring cleaning, give yourself a manicure/pedicure and put on face masks.”
Tim: 20, Sophomore at Fashion Institute of Technology, @timohtreee
“The coronavirus is affecting me most in the way that I intended on starting a new job soon.
Since the virus is shutting down businesses, my start date was pushed back. Before all of this happened, I put my two weeks in at my other job already, so starting next week I will be unemployed for two weeks.
I live at home, but FIT is requesting that people leave their dorms by March 31st and if not, they are willing to accommodate them.
To do my part in containing the virus, I am staying indoors. If I do go out, it is to go to my girlfriend’s house and I always use hand sanitizer and wash my hands the minute I am able to. To ease the panic, my school has suspended all in-person classes including labs. My school also constantly sends emails informing us of the steps they are taking as the virus is rapidly spreading. In order to stay calm in such an overwhelming time, I am catching up on my school work, sleeping more and improving my Spanish.”
Bre 19, Freshman at Oregon State University-Cascades, @bree.sandal.chin
“I currently live on campus. Oregon State said that students are allowed to stay in the dorms, and are encouraged to remain on campus and practice social distancing in order to keep everyone as healthy as possible.
Like many schools, all instruction will be online but the thing is I have a printmaking class next term that is a hands-on, studio class. That also takes away from the experience and learning process that we would be blessed with if we still had in-person instruction.
Moving classes and finals online affected everyone in a different way. For me, I had two papers and a project that needed to be turned in online anyway but, I did have a project for 3-D art that we needed to bring in and present with everyone. That, unfortunately, took away the learning experience of being in class, observing each other’s projects that we worked hard on, and having a nice time with each other sipping on tea.
They have shut down our gym indefinitely and doing body workouts is something I do not prefer in my opinion. But right now, I have to make do with what I have. I am cooped up in my room a lot more since they did ask us to social distance and I’d rather keep myself and my friends safe.
Honestly, I like my room since I made it a more comfortable and cozy space, but being in it the majority of the day feels like I don’t get much done and I’m not getting out there and exploring, even though I can’t right now. It makes the days feel much longer.
I am practicing social distancing by thoroughly wiping down and cleaning everything I have come in contact with, staying updated with the outbreak through reliable sources, and keeping contact with family members to make sure they’re ok.
My school has done great in responding to the outbreak and easing everyone’s panic:
They are allowing students to stay on campus because some may not be able to travel due to funds. They are keeping the dining halls open and helping those with meal insecurities. They also have opened the computer labs and laptop spaces will be available around campus (at a safe distance) just in case some students can’t work remotely. Lastly, they are keeping everyone updated with any changes they decide to make or the district/state implemented them.
Since I’m in my room more often, I clean my room to destress. With that being said, I only leave my room to do things that need to be done and not making unnecessary trips anywhere.
I practice a little more self-care, which to me looks like, playing video games (add me on PSN: @hater_nation5827) LOL, watching anime and drawing/painting while listening to music.”
Ty’Ren, 18, Sophomore at Pace University, @tyrentillett
“The biggest effect that coronavirus has had on my life is that I can’t go home to California unless I want to be quarantined for two weeks upon my return to NYC.
I have decided to ultimately stay in the city as Pace has allowed us to stay in the dorms, though many have left on their own accord.
With that being said, I’m personally being a lot more cautious with what I touch out in public and trying to stay in as much as I possibly can. Pace sent out emails with updates on the virus and how it will be affecting us: we were just notified classes will be remote for the rest of the semester and commencement will be postponed.
To keep calm, I’m just kind of acknowledging the existence of the virus and hoping for the best for myself and those around me.”
Hana, 20, Sophomore at University at Albany SUNY, @kastratihana
“The largest way corona has impacted me is that online classes aren’t that compatible with my major and the classes I have to take. I’m currently live in the dorms but am packing to go home.
The university decided on the 18th that they would be closing the dorms and gave us until the 5th of April to move our stuff out. Those with extenuating circumstances such as international students, abusive households, no wifi/food are allowed to stay. We will be getting partial refunds when we move out based on the amount of time we’ve been here.
I can’t go to work because my job is closed due to one of my coworkers possibly having come into contact with the virus. I’m lucky that my parents have a car and that my school is only three hours away so they can come get me this weekend. I’m also lucky that I have friends that live off-campus that can hold some of my stuff for me until I come back in the fall. I’ve been staying home and going out as little as possible. The coronavirus isn’t going to affect me much because I’m young and healthy but I don’t want to risk exposing someone else. However, when my job opens back up, I will be taking the bus to and from work.
I’m honestly not worried much because I know I’ll be okay and my family is okay, I’m just trying not to get exposed to the virus and not expose anyone else.”
Haunani, 22, Second Semester Senior at University of Hawaii at Mānoa, @haunanipreston
“The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted me in the ways that I am a senior and they canceled our graduation ceremony set in May 2020.
I live at home but as of right now people are still living on campus but are not allowed to attend class or eat at the cafe. The school is offering dine-out options for those who currently live on campus. UH Manoa has its counseling services currently open for a limited amount of time Monday through Friday to offer students therapy during this time.
The coronavirus is really impacting the job that I love. I am currently in the Elementary Education Program to teach grades k-6, and I am unable to teach my students at all. This makes me feel horrible knowing that my students do not have access to technology at home, leaves me without the opportunity to teach them as all public schools in Hawaii are shut down until April 7th. I suppose that this date will be pushed back too, because it would directly impact the safety and wellbeing of teachers and students.
Knowing that I can’t teach my students, that I am not able to spend time with them and even do what I’m supposed to do to pass all of my courses (which is to teach them daily) gives me a lot of stress.
My niece and nephew also aren’t able to go back to school, and their parents do not trust them going back to school, so currently I am helping to find homeschooling curriculums for them to easily transition into.
Since I am home, I set a solid schedule for myself, similar to what I would be doing in general. Usually, I wake up and get a good workout in, then I make coffee and breakfast for my husband and I. Afterward, I am continuing to do all of my assignments. It’s important for me to find a routine that works because being stuck at home can feel horrible to some people. For some normalcy through the chaos, I have been doing bible studies as often as I can to keep me busy, using this time to really get my coursework done, and spend time with my family as much as I can.
We know, these are difficult and sad times right now. We all have a responsibility to ourselves, and society to self-distance in order to go back to our normal lives as soon as possible. While a lot of things are not in our control, we are able to promote peace of mind and sense of community as we fight COVID-19. Drink some tea, meditate, and binge watch that series you’ve always wanted to.”
With so much at stake and so many unknowns, we’re wish you all well. Take care, Lighters.