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By Sara Swallow
VCU, my university, extended Spring Break a week when COVID cases first started rising. I remember my class group-chats going off about how COVID would be gone soon and we’d be back in Hibbs Hall listening to lectures in no time. My professors made jokes like Don’t get COVID while you’re gone!
Looking back, everything seems like a joke.
I thought Tiger King and Outer Banks would hold me over through the lockdown but once I finished them, the pandemic was far from over. VCU told us that all our classes would be on Zoom from now on and some of my professors could barely handle a projector let alone move all of their classes online.
Thankfully, I still had a job at a daycare facility but some of my other friends weren’t so lucky because they worked in restaurants and apparently you don’t need a hostess for take-out orders. When the government started talking about stimulus checks I felt relieved; I was trying to move out and I could use the money for savings and other expenses, but college students (aka dependents) don’t get stimulus checks. We don’t even get a discount on our tuition when all our classes, in most cases, are on Zoom.
College students haven’t seen any relief during this pandemic. We’ve been expected to continue doing our schoolwork at home, keep paying rent, keep buying groceries, and try to hold it all together without any financial support or rest. Apparently our schools think the best way to defeat COVID is to work us for 13 weeks straight with no breaks--keep writing those papers and listening to those recorded lectures. At this point though, anything that decreases the possibility of exposure is probably the best case so I’ll give VCU and other colleges a break for that. Every single person on Earth that has been hit by COVID has felt no relief; we’re all suffering together.
Though COVID has cut through families, jobs, paychecks, and peace of mind, it has made me realize how much I miss people. I miss sitting in the campus Starbucks with everyone chatting while I sip coffee and type away. I love the sunshine more because of COVID. I can go outside and remember that everyone is under this same sun as me, feeling warm. It’s harder now that it’s colder because there’s fewer people hanging outside.
I just hope spring comes early and an end to COVID comes even sooner.
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