Students and the Coronavirus: What the Virus is Doing to Us

I am currently in my junior year of college as of today, and next week is finals week for my now online classes. As a part of the Class of 2021, there is a lot up in the air so far with my college as for what my senior year is going to look like, and the Class of 2020 has basically had their last months as students decided for them. My college has decided to move their commencement to August in the hopes that the virus will be more under control so that these hardworking students can have their chance to walk across the stage to get their bachelors and masters degrees. But they have yet to let us know the plan for what this coming fall will be. Many colleges and universities have already made the decision to have their fall semesters completely online, and I for one am really hoping that that won’t be the case for my campus.

Senior year in college for people usually goes one of two ways. You are either completely swamped with your heaviest course loads, or you somehow got a really easy year with only a few of your hardest classes. I unfortunately will most likely have the first option. With my college, our senior year is when we take what we call a capstone course, and you have to pass that course in order to graduate. It is basically the course that has most of the information that you are going to need for your future and also a culmination of all the classes you’ve had before. As an advertising major, my capstone course is called Ad Campaigns, where as a class, we create a full blown advertising campaign for a local business in the area. Before you can take that in the spring, you have to take Market Research in the fall, where you study the business and write a full report on everything about the business that you can find. And all I know from hearing from the classes before me is that Market Research is hard enough when you have face to face classes. I can’t imagine doing it online.

I know that I’m not the only student going through this right now. We are all at this point gearing up for finals week. Some professors are being super lenient with their tests or have switch to a project-based final, while many of my friends and I have found some professors who are not understanding at all about the situation and are still having us do the 500 point projects or papers without the resources to do them properly. It is honestly getting ridiculous. Finals was always a stressful time, but this pandemic has really brought it to a whole new level.

I think the most frustrating part about this whole thing was having to be uprooted from the structure and routine of actually going to classes and being away from home. I find myself slacking off way more than usual because I’m no longer in my dorm. I have the habit of always doing my work before coming home for breaks so that I can just relax and have fun with my family. Now that I’m home and have to do all my classwork from home, it’s hard to get motivated and in the right headspace to do anything productive. My mind’s switched over to summer break mode in April.

The other thing that is most frustrating to me and a lot of students that I’ve talked to, is that we didn’t pay full tuition to take online courses and the fact that some of us are only getting a refund for a month of housing, instead of for the remainder of our meal plans and other service fees that we aren’t even using now that we are all back home. A lot of colleges and universities that I’ve seen have just done tuition freezes, meaning that tuition isn’t going to go up in price for the 2020-2021 academic year, but that isn’t enough. If my college is to go strictly online for fall semester, then I’m expecting my $20,000/semester tuition to take a heavy reduction.

My one hope is that people start to really take this whole pandemic more seriously and stay inside for quarantine. The faster that we all get on the same page, the faster that life could hopefully go back to normal. It frustrates me to see those protestors and people on beaches not social distancing because all I see are people who are taking away my senior year and the senior year of the Class of 2021. I want to think of the good in people and believe that things are going to get better soon. But people’s actions are just tending to show how selfish some people are. There are people who are losing their jobs and getting laid off and those who don’t even have enough food to get them through the month. There are healthcare workers who are risking their lives to stop the spread of this pandemic. But for all the good those people are doing, there are those who are so self-centered that they are willing to destroy it all.

I hope that as a people, we learn something valuable from this. Everything I watch on TV or hear on the radio talk about getting through this thing together. It really is going to take all of us to flatten the curve and slow the spread and affect of COVID-19.

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