Coronavirus & College
The coronavirus pandemic has caused mass hysteria, chaos and intense distress for millions everywhere. College students are no exception. With universities increasingly going online for the rest of the semester, students are returning to live with families in their hometowns, unsure of when they will be able to return to campus and see their friends again.
While the situation is devastating for all, particular college students definitely have had it worse.
Students that were abroad in European countries, for example, had to rush to get home if they were in more affected countries, and some had to scramble to find thousand-dollar plane tickets after President Trump made a national announcement last Wednesday (March 11), banning travel to America from Europe for a 30 day period. Now, students from other continents also return home, as the global situation only worsens. These students had their once-in-a-lifetime study abroad opportunities cut too soon and will have to go from the exciting thrill of consistent travel and exposure to new cultures to the isolation of their houses.
Others that were more negatively impacted include student athletes. The NCAA canceled all remaining winter and spring sports for the year, including basketball, lacrosse, baseball and more. The athletes of these sports have put in years of dedication, only to have their season yanked away like a carpet underneath them. Thankfully, the NCAA ended up giving another year of eligibility to student athletes who had been in their last season, relieving at least a little bit of stress from this unsettling state of affairs.
Finally, college seniors have had it the worst by far due to the precautions colleges have logically taken against COVID-19. For some, their commencements have been canceled. Some will never be able to step foot on campus as an undergrad again. Years of hard work, friendships and memories all for their college experience to be cut short. Though it may seem like there were only a few months left of University, those months were packed full of final events and gatherings to celebrate one of the greatest, most educational phases of life.
Although all students may admit that certain groups have had it worse, every college student in America is still feeling the scary effects of coronavirus. Many had to cancel their spring break trips, wasting thousands of dollars on a trip they may have been looking forward to for months to protect the wellbeing of others. If they still went on their trips (for selfish purposes, if I might add), they are now dealing with the repercussions, either having to drive/fly back earlier than expected or having to quarantine alone for weeks upon return. Those who originally cared solely about partying and having fun are realizing the consequences of their actions as they come back from vacation destinations testing positive – now they can’t come in contact with friends or family, and guilt is a very necessary feeling for these spoiled few to understand in a pandemic like this.
Thankfully, most college students are “woke” (as we like to say) and understand the severity of COVID-19 and its impacts. Although these next few months are definitely unexpected and will have their dark periods, social media actually has some positive qualities, including the ability to connect us in times of such intense isolation. People have taken to Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Facebook (mostly the older generations on this one, though) to share light-hearted content featuring how life has changed during quarantine, funny instances during Zoom classes, what advice they have to battle depression from isolation and humor regarding how history will be changed from here on out (one prediction includes diplomas being emailed to students as PDF files, which very well may be the case at this point).
For the next few weeks and possibly months, students involved in different organizations and internships will be sorting out how they will continue on with participation. In regards to Greek Life, many fraternities and sororities are scrambling to figure out what to do about dues and housing. While some internships allow for students to work from home, some students are going to have to wait to get back to their jobs.
Overall, this is one of the most frightening historical experiences that college students have had to face in their lifetimes (right up there with 9/11 and the Great Recession). There’s a lot that is still unknown, but it seems most people are taking the necessary steps to “flatten out the curve,” so that healthcare systems can be better prepared to deal with the increasing number of cases it will continue to face over time. The most that college students can do is stay at home, avoid interactions with more vulnerable people and continue finding ways to make this depressing situation a little more light hearted.