On March 13, 2020, news broke out of many schools being closed “temporarily” due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Since then, schools have been shut down and moved to a new way of classes: remote learning.
College freshmen around the world have been singled out of the typical orientation of a new student. As a College Freshman myself, I didn’t get a lot of the first year preparations as I wanted and was fully immersed in the first week of college by myself. Missing out on simple things such as tours of the school, student Ids, and class registration. But seeing as I wasn’t the only one with this thought helped me connect with students starting new as well.
College of Dupage Freshmen, Olivia Nelson, discussed how she has been dealing with staying home during the new chapter in her life. “Obviously when I am not in a class, I listen to music and minimize the social interactions I have with my friends,” said Nelson.“Taking walks and being outside has been effective. Also staying connected to my friends via FaceTime, text, and other social media.”
Social media has become an essential platform for students to stay connected within their communities. As for FaceTime and Zoom Meetings, seeing friends has been easy access as well as classes. It’s incredible to see the change in mentality during these past couple of months. Teenagers and young adults have gained a sense of maturity and self-realization in the world because nothing is for certain and being flexible is the key.
Not only are the students making changes, but parents are as well. Many have used the pandemic as an outlet to discover new hobbies, or pick up where they left off. More physical activities have resurfaced like knitting, baking, and gardening. Many adults have taken the time to sign up for remote classes to continue their education.
Vonda Castro, a mother of two, reached out to me about her next steps as a returning student. “Despite having an advanced degree, I have always wanted to be a nurse,” said Castro. “While my kids are taking hybrid classes, now would be a perfect time! I am currently taking two prerequisites now and two in the spring.” Additionally, she hopes to enter the advanced Bachelor’s in Nursing program by next fall and add on to her previous education journey.
Castro has done something many people may be afraid to do. Her story of taking the next steps says something about not only the perseverance of her but the perseverance of the community and the people. Even though nothing is in the norm anymore we shouldn’t live a life of fear, but rather a life of caution.
I completely agree with the ways of finding productive and safe ways to deal with the Pandemic. I will agree that starting my first year of college I felt completely alone in the process. Setting up my classes, deadlines, and tuition calculations was a rollercoaster of emotions that I had little to no experience with. Although when everything was completed I felt a sense of relief and maturity with the process.
Taking up a hobby has been my way of coping with being at home, as well as social media too. I found knitting in my opinion was the best hobby for me to start. With the screen time between my phone and online classes this was a little break and time to destress. I will admit I don’t knit all the time, most of the time I am on social media like TikTok scrolling the time away on the for you page. Looking at random videos and sometimes seeing students around the world going through the same struggles I have with college.
A great population of the world is uncertain of the next steps but using what we are given and making the most out of it shows that we as a community can grow from these experiences and stick together. Whether it being hands-on or digitally we all have ways to cope. The pandemic may be limiting our access, but our brains will never be limited to make the most out of an abnormal situation.