(This is the fourth in a series of articles from students about their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
Were you in college or high school when the pandemic hit the country? What was the biggest impact on your life during the first few months of the pandemic? I was a college freshman and halfway through my second semester when COVID-19 tragically swept over the country. I and virtually all my peers experienced a sense of loss and confusion as we began to realize that we wouldn’t be returning to school that semester.
Being deprived of the college experience was probably the biggest impact I experienced during my time in isolation. Thankfully, I could still somewhat interact with friends and classmates through platforms like Zoom and Facetime. I eventually returned to campus in the summer to serve as a university SOAR Leader.
What were the challenges of transitioning from seated classes (either high school or college) to online learning? We’re taught at a young age to be willing to adapt and be susceptible to change. In the beginning of the outbreak, I genuinely believe faculty tried their hardest to make it a smooth transition, but it was a situation that no one could’ve prepared for.
Now that COVID-19 has become our new normal, students and faculty have a similar understanding of that teaching and learning looks different now. I have my fingers crossed that COVID-19 isn’t around in the future but looking at it from a student perspective, I think COVID really put the education system to the test. I truly believe the education system prevailed by making information virtually accessible and putting procedures in place for potential future outbreaks.
What is the greatest lesson you took away from the pandemic (from the beginning to the point we are currently at with social distancing, masking)? Life throws a lot of curve-balls and puts obstacles in the way of your personal success and happiness. As cliche as it sounds, nothing is impossible, and it truly comes down to the outlook you have on the situation.
As a student at the university, your main priority is to graduate and earn a degree, which is exactly what I’ve focused on throughout this pandemic. COVID has been a terrible experience, but I’ve kept my head high and persevered as well as I can.
How did you practice Self-Care-As-A-Bear in dealing with the stress of online classes, isolation from friends and activities, general stress of dealing with the unknown? As soon as I knew we wouldn’t be returning to campus last spring, it was absolutely devastating. I knew immediately that I couldn’t let myself fall into a depressive state or become overly stressed. I continued to find happiness in the little things, like taking the time to call my friends, “occasionally” sleeping in, and staying engaged with my extracurricular activities – virtually.
What did you learn about yourself as you went through/continue to go through the pandemic? I learned what it means to be resilient and recognize that like all hardships, this too shall pass. Additionally, I’ve encouraged myself and others to jump at any opportunity they encounter, because we never know when the opportunity could be gone.