By former intern Grant E. Loveless

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the way people collaborate, communicate, work and even grocery shop. News channels and social media influencers continuously discuss the negatives of COVID-19: the deaths, unemployment rates, homelessness influx and healthcare inequities. With all the chaos around COVID-19, what are some of the ways we contribute to ourselves -whether its gardening, writing or cooking. More specifically, how are students being affected in the midst of this pandemic, coping with the practice of self-quarantine and its effect on our mental and physical state, professional development and financial stability? 

At first, I battled with stress and anxiety. Unknowingly breaking down because I felt my life had come to an absolute halt. I had planned various events and projects, had plans to travel to other states and out of country and I had so many opportunities lined up for me. However, COVID-19 came and I felt for a week or two useless and incapable to help others at the capacity I wanted to. My close friends encouraged me to do more and take advantage of the opportunity to work from home and develop new skills. From this encouragement, I have started yoga, been reading more and have enrolled in classes regarding social media marketing and computer science. I have started taking more of my time and investing it into my self-care, health and well-being.

COVID-19 has shaken the structure and stability a lot of students have become accustomed to. This online transaction is pushing them over the edge not knowing where their next meal may be or where they will rest their head. They don’t know if they will be able to enroll for another semester at their dream university. Colleges increasing their student emergency funds, community members and leaders uniting to gather resources for students in need and seeing students create initiatives to combat food insecurity and financial instability are ways the gap is being bridged.

I have always struggled with my finances, and due to being quarantined, I have had time to self-reflect and balance out my finances putting my focus on a car and a passport. I am blessed enough to work from home, advocate from home and even have a home. I am still afloat in my finances, but as the summer approaches, I am looking for job opportunities so I can continue to live comfortably.

COVID-19 had affected me personally as my father was quarantined, my grandma had anxiety attacks and two of my out-of-state colleagues have passed. Due to these losses, my academic and professional success has been affected slightly with turning assignments in late, not answering emails and isolating myself from social media and my friends. Academically, I am still on my same course to graduate and be able to walk the stage soon, but I will say studying has been a struggle because lying in bed sounds better than studying.

In all, I have found a new love with the arts, with my health and wellness, yoga and technology. This quarantine has been a challenge, but I am truly blessed to have the support system I have for my education, well-being and crazy ideas. This quarantine is a time for self-reflection and growth; this is a time to change and do the things you’ve always wanted to do.

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