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How COVID-19 Affects College Students

In efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 all colleges and universities were forced to close their doors for the rest of the spring semester and convert their classes to remote online learning. The news of schools closing down came with a wide out-pour of concerns and issues that had to be worked out, such as providing students with necessary resources for online classes and giving students adequate time to figure out of their living situation, but college students lost a lot more than their dorm room and their classes. This quarantine has disrupted the daily lives of all college students in some shape or form, whether it be something as small as having to figure out how to attend online classes or as big as losing their graduation.

Shonell Benjamin, a senior at Lawrence University, is missing out on senior year celebrations and must now battle the infamous senioritis syndrome from home. “The only pros I can see from this is staying healthy and spending more time with family. On the other hand, I’m missing out on the final celebrations of my senior year. I won’t be able to take my last few classes with my friends and favorite professors.” says Benjamin. As a senior student, Shonell was looking forward to senior events and was only able to participate in Senior Day before all the festivities were cancelled.

“After four long years, you’re looking forward to celebrating all your hard work with the ones you love. So, not being able to celebrate through senior dinners, banquets and most important graduation hurts a ton. Hopefully when this is all over the class of 2020 can find some way to celebrate."

However she commends her school for its response to the crisis and its accommodating nature towards the students and staff. “My school is located in Wisconsin and they get students from all over the U.S and internationally. There was so much they had to consider before making the decision to transition to distance learning. I think they are doing the best that they can to accommodate everyone.” said Benjamin.

Assata Cradle-Morgan, a senior student at Syracuse University, is also feeling short changed by the quarantine as she had big plans for her senior year. “I lost my social life, my sense of independence, I lost my graduation and online remote learning has only made my classes more difficult. My teachers give a lot more assignments to make up for not having in person classes and it is difficult to keep track all of my assignments when the deadlines keep changing” said Cradle-Morgan. With the possibility of Americans being quarantined during the summer floating around, Assata also feels that the gap between being a college student to being a full-time adult in the workforce will be stripped away from her.

(Assata Cradle Morgan with Syracuse University mascot Otto the orange)

“My friends and I have continued to recognize certain senior events even though we were all at home. For example my step team, Black Reign, hosted the annual showcase ‘Us:Black Reign edition’ and Black Reign 15th anniversary banquet via Zoom as a way to continue our celebrations. My step team and I threw together a last minute banquet, everyone had to bring food and drinks, and we reflected on how being a part of Black Reign has impacted us.”-Assata Cradle-Morgan

Despite the disappointment she felt at missing the last of her senior year, she acknowledged that her school tried their best to figure out the best course of action given the circumstances. “Syracuse took it day by day. It started by canceling one week of classes before spring break and then, after seeing the severity of the virus, they cancelled the rest of the semester. One thing Syracuse could have done better was to give students more time to retrieve their stuff from their dorms, which is not an issue specific to Syracuse, but students were rushed to get out of their dorms and had to quickly figure out their living arrangements.” said Cradle-Morgan

For some college seniors the COVID-19 virus is not only affecting their personal lives but their professional lives as well. Beatrice Wallace, a senior at Sophie Davis School of Biomedical City College, is studying to become a doctor and for her this pandemic has put a spotlight on how effective the American healthcare system is and the intensity of the responsibilities healthcare workers have. “I’m not a doctor yet and so it's making me a little nervous to become one. I want to help people and make sure everyone receives the best healthcare that they can but this crisis puts a light on the disparity between rich and poor.” said Wallace.

(Beatrice Wallace in the middle)

For college students who are currently pursuing or aspire to pursue their doctorate in the medical field, this crisis can be overwhelming as they experience the pitfalls of working in the healthcare industry. “Overall, it's scary for me because in the near future I will be one of the doctors serving on the front lines to deal with a crisis like this if one ever happens again and I’m not confident in our healthcare system to protect us.”

In this scary and confusing time people all over the world are dealing with loss and are attempting to adapt to this new normal of a quarantined lifestyle. College students have had to adjust to a new reality of having online classes, having an increase in financial burden, delayed or virtual graduations, and much more. For college students, seniors especially, this pandemic has completely altered their academic routines and thrown a wrench into their plans for their spring semester.


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