By Julissa Ramirez ’23

Staff Writer

April 9, 2021

Our world was taken by storm by COVID-19 in March 2020. A wave of universities, small businesses, and public schools were forced to close, and life as we knew it hit a pause. Spring break of 2020 turned into months of remote classes, watching COVID cases rise, and whipping up the new Delgada Tik Tok coffee. Students had to figure out how to get home and adapt to virtual learning. Off campus, students faced many questions: what will the semester bring, and will we even return to campus? Fortunately, we were able to come back to campus in the fall. However, some students are still trying to digest what happened in 2020.

One week into spring break in 2020, students were informed that campus would be closed for the remainder of the semester. Many students wondered how they would return home and gather their belongings from their dorms. As David Peck ‘22 remembers, “When we got sent home, I believe they gave everyone a three-day notice, so after talking to my parents they told me to grab what you really need. It was all of the essentials.”

As students scrambled to return to campus to retrieve their belongings, they faced a fear of how the rest of the semester would go. Those who stayed on campus felt isolated. Jobed Hilaire ’21 described this by saying, “We were in a bubble hearing about how bad COVID was, but not really knowing what was going on. Every place in the world was turning to fear, and it gets to you mentally.”

Students had to become accustomed to the new world that was forming around them and adapt to the more frequent use of technology in their daily lives. Since the start of the pandemic, some students have been staring at a laptop screen for over 10 hours per day. Student-athlete Mamadou Meite ’23 says, “Remote learning sucks, but you learn how to work past it. This whole switch helped people to become more flexible. We had to learn to adapt.”

Students had to learn to not only adapt to taking their classes online, but also to taking finals remotely. Fatou Diokhane ‘23 reflects on her transition from in-person teaching to online: “It was difficult because I remember towards the end of the semester, like finals week, I really missed being on campus. When you see students in the library together studying, and it gives you motivation, but when you’re alone at home it adds to the pressures of finals.”

As the pandemic continued to this past fall semester, first-year students’ experience was completely different from the years prior. Yashimabet Drummond ‘24 explains, “Office hours are hard because you can’t just walk in any time, and once they’re booked there’s no way to meet. I personally need that focused help and I’m not getting it. And this burnout is crazy. When you just work, work, work it’s exhausting.”

Due to COVID, students have been in classes for four months straight without any breaks. “Those breaks, I been used to having them for the past three years, and not having them are draining. I use those breaks to recharge and it took some time to pull through,” states Jobed Hilaire ’21. Students across all years are now facing burnout and a feeling that the Colleges do not support their mental well-being. “I need spring break. We need some sort of break” Hilaire stated.

Above all, students hope to get past the impacts of COVID-19, not only as a campus but as a community. Diokhane hopes “[that] we are more careful. I believe that COVID did put a lot of things into perspective with a lot of our safety habits and germs.” We will get through this and we will come out stronger than we were before.

Featured Image by Ani Freedman.

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