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Student Voices

Eastern Students Reflect on Life During the Pandemic

Students in History Professor Anna Kirchmann’s freshman course “Recent American History” provided eyewitness accounts of life during COVID-19 in the spring 2020 semester. The compilation of reflective essays, “Student Voices,” emulates the primary historical sources utilized in class and will be deposited in the University’s library archives.

Fueled by a range of emotions, the essays offer a close look into the student experience and describe myriad struggles and silver linings during an unprecedented global pandemic. “It’s a gripping read,” said Kirchmann. “The authors are thoughtful and honest. Their stories are sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes heartwarming, and always poignant.”

  • This year was my first year of college. I was excited to explore the world on my own accords and discover the things I wanted in my life. I was taking my courses to propel me towards those goals, and I was eager to see what I could accomplish. I knew in the future I wanted a big house in the suburbs with children of my own and a black lab. I decided I wanted to become a nurse, one that works with kids and one that could help people in their time of need.

    Now, I turn on the television and read that over 81,000 people have died from a new and unknown virus. I wish I could be one of those heroes that goes in the hospital to help those patients but instead I’ve been sitting at home for two months on lockdown. This was what I was working towards and what I wanted to do with my life: help people in need. Now I'm finishing my medical terminology class online and I’m not allowed to give my grandmother a hug. I get sent about 20 emails a day from my professors that read something along the lines of “I know this is a difficult time for everyone but...” and assign quizzes and test I have to complete about subjects I was forced to teach myself. Some of my grades have dropped because I can’t raise my hand in class to clarify a question I had. Other grades have risen because I have found all the answers to their tests online. But with that being said, I didn’t learn anything. I didn’t retain any of the information. I feel like I wasted a semester of my college. I miss my friends and walking with them to Webb and eating lunch in the Student Center. But now I’m at home again and y mom is unemployed and my sister’s anxiety about dying has increased. We’re all not only stuck at home but stuck in our own heads.

    The global shut down has affected everyone in so many ways. Outside looks almost apocalyptic as the roads stay empty and the people who do dare to leave their homes, are covered in faces masks and gloves as if afraid to even breathe the air. Only the government established “essential businesses” are open which includes mostly grocery stores and Kohl’s. Restaurants struggle to stay open while they complete orders to be picked up in front of the establishment and small businesses lose the battle and are forced to close up shop. Seniors have lost their graduation and their last moments with the people they’ve spent forever with. Some people have lost family members to this mysterious virus and some are drowning in bills that they cannot pay because they aren't allowed at work. My cousin Owen has type 1 diabetes which is one of the diseases they say are more susceptible to death if they were to catch the virus. He collects unemployment checks but it’s just barely enough to pay for the apartment he and his girlfriend live in along with food and internet to stay in touch. He feels trapped.

    My grandmother has heart arrythmia and type 1 diabetes as well and hasn’t left the house in months. My uncle buys her groceries and leaves them at her front step because we’re told to stay 6 feet apart. Her short dark hair has grown shaggy and the only thing she can do about it is pin it back with a sparkly green barrette she found in the grandkids’ room. She’s completed 23 puzzles, but no store is open for her to buy more so she repeats the same ones over again. She hasn’t changed out of her nightgown in two weeks and she watches the boredom creep up her neck as she sits at home alone with the same 23 puzzles.

    We still get to see her sometimes. My family and I sit in her yard as she cracks open a window to say hi. The government says she can’t get any closer. She tears up when she sees us because it’s the first face she’s seen in days. She’s tired of phone calls and absent and empty days. She wants to take her car out and drive to the mall and get more puzzles and spoil her grandkids with clothes and lunch. I miss her too.

    The virus has changed all our lives, and nothing is normal right now. The only topic of conversation is how many people are in the hospital and how much longer the government is planning on extending our shut down. We’re all required by law to wear a mask in public and stand 6 feet apart. Business hours are cut, gatherings over 50 are banned and people are now able to brag about how they haven’t left the house at all, so they are clean of the virus. Nobody is sure when things will go back to normal. Rumor of this being extended into the fall are poisoning college students heads. We’re all waiting to wake up.

  • It is 6:41 on March 19, 2020. I am currently sitting on a recliner chair wrapped in a blanket typing this journal entry. COVID-19 seriously ruined the last semester of my freshman year at Eastern. The weather has been a lot warmer, track meets were approaching, and life was just so good until COVID-19 began rapidly spreading in the United States.

    I remember leaving my dorm room before spring break thinking I should have packed more of my room up as COVID-19 was sure to end it. On my phone I could see other universities throwing in the towel and closing schools for the rest of the year. But, Eastern hasn’t yet. We were told if we travel outside of Connecticut we were told to self quarantine for 14 days before we returned after spring break. Well, living in Rhode Island I was already going to be off Eastern’s campus for a while.

    My dorm made me so happy at Eastern. I could walk out of my room and chat with my friends as I passed them in the hallways, bathroom, or lounging in the common room. I was free to be myself, have all the freedom in the world, and was growing as a person. I was sad to leave all my new friends, especially my new life. Even the things I disliked and was always complaining about when I was at Eastern I missed. I miss the long walks all the way across campus to the dining hall, the challenging workouts my coach made for us, days where I was so tired to get out of bed to walk to an actual classroom taught by a professor in person. Thinking back on it, I took too many things for granted I shouldn’t have.

    At Eastern, I was able to focus on myself, and get everything done that I needed to whenever I needed. Now as I am stuck back at home I do not enjoy it as much. I have parents telling me to get this or that, do a chore, help my siblings, or walk the dogs. I can’t focus on myself and get everything I need to do done when I want. It is definitely going to be a struggle for me to have to do all my classes online and focus on my assignments. On top of that, I am back at work trying to make money while I am home until next semester in the fall. I guess that is a place where I kind of am working on myself, and doing things for myself. I am making my own money to use as I please.

    COVID-19 definitely is a serious disease spreading across all 50 states, especially other countries. It is causing many businesses, restaurants, and other places across my town to close so there is really nothing fun to do at this time. I am basically quarantined in my house until I have to leave to go to work, even though my work is probably the next business to close down. Then, my life back at home is really going to be boring.

    Now, as I write again in May businesses have been starting to slowly open up again. Life will never be the same for a while. We still have to wear masks that make it hard to breathe. There are lots of rules for keeping distance and there have been so many deaths across the country. While in quarantine, I started redoing my room like many people in society have turned to home projects to keep busy. Personally, I think COVID has impacted the community both positively as pollution decreased, but many people are getting sick. COVID has also allowed families to spend more time together which typically in a family today everyone is busy with their own schedules so this turned out great for bonding. Personally, coming home from college to spend time with my family was not exciting for me as i was leaving my fun life at college. However, looking back on it the few months we were stuck together is time to cherish and praise for allowing more memories to be made. Especially, as a college student we don’t get to see family for a majority of the year.

  • I’ve read about past pandemics and virus outbreaks in prior history classes and books. Reading details such as the casualties, resonate differently after going through a pandemic yourself. You realize that you are just as susceptible to catching the virus as everyone around you. Looking back on past history, and looking forward to the present, pandemics open your eyes to how much society has changed. It makes you realize how past historical events and present events compare. Today, we have more modern medicine and technology than in past pandemics. It makes you appreciate efforts of those within society who work every day to make it a better place. Never did I think that with all these advancements and technology, a pandemic would occur in my lifetime. I am currently living through an event, the “Coronavirus (Covid-19)” pandemic, that will one day be in a history book.

    Many of my family members were impacted through this pandemic in different ways. The majority of my family members were unable to work, so they had to transition from in-person to working from home. One of my family members was laid off as a result of this pandemic, and couldn’t work at all. For my family members who were older, this pandemic made it harder for them to live comfortably. Those who are older were at more of a risk for catching this virus, so going out in public for them was very nerve wracking. Stores during this time were also short on food and other items, which also made it harder for my older relatives. They waited for when they desperately needed essentials, so by the time they put themselves at risk to go to the store, they couldn’t purchase what they needed.

    My brother, in particular, is greatly impacted by this pandemic. My brother is currently a senior in high school, attending a local technical school. He has spent the last four years increasing his knowledge in the electrical trade field, in addition to his favorite extracurricular activities. Because of this pandemic, he too has transitioned to online learning. Schools have been closed for the rest of the semester, so he is not having an in-person graduation ceremony, and will now be having a virtual commencement. This makes him sad and upset, and it hurts me seeing him this way. Four years of his life he’s spent (along with the other global members of the class of 2020), and don’t get to have a proper graduation ceremony like the classes that preceded them.

    Living my daily life was a big transition as a result of this pandemic. I was used to being able to go anywhere at any time, and do whatever I wanted. I was so used to living life on my own at school, being free to do anything, but am now stuck in my home as a result of this pandemic. I love being home with my relatives and family, but I also miss being able to take my dog to the park, going out to eat, or being able to shop for groceries without living in fear.

    This pandemic has impacted me a lot as a college student. The end of my freshman year came to a halt suddenly when we were asked not to return from spring break, and move our stuff out of our residence halls. We would then continue our studies from home through online classes for the remainder of the semester. Up until this point, I had an amazing freshman year on campus. I was enjoying my classes, President of my residence hall “Residence Hall Association”, and spending a lot of fun times making memories with my friends. I was really acclimated to campus life, and was sad that I had to leave it behind. It was not the end to my freshman year I was expecting, but it will certainly be one to remember.

    As a college student during this pandemic, I had to transition to learning online. The transition to online learning as a result of this pandemic wasn’t too hard, but I still prefer face to face teaching and interactions. I also prefer in-person instruction because it is easier to have direct communications and interactions, and it is more reliable. Having in person interactions with friends is also something I miss as a result of this pandemic. College provided me with an easy outlet for my friends and I to spend time together because we all live in different areas. I’ve always been one who prefers in person contact with friends, so keeping up communications through social media and texting is something I've had to utilize more often. Thanks to technology, this makes it easier.

    This pandemic has also affected the community activities and daily lives of those living within my town. Many local businesses and corporations have been closed, which causes financial distress to these businesses, and the local economy. These closings also makes it hard for people who depended on businesses for certain resources in order to live. My town is very small and close knit. There are a lot of activities that our community is able to take part in that brings people together, such as the “River glow” or “Duck Race” events. As a result of this pandemic, events such as these are canceled. This is a big source of income for the sponsoring organizations, and is also a big source of community and togetherness for my town.

    My town has made great adaptations to activities we would normally participate in before this pandemic. For example, before the pandemic, if one wanted to bring trash or other materials (such as brush or leaves) to the local transfer station, they could just drive in at any time during operational hours and take care of it. Now, people are required to make an appointment, and can only come during their scheduled appointment time. This keeps people distanced and safe. Although, it does make it harder to get an appointment time, as spots each day are limited.

    One of the craziest parts about the pandemic to me was the societal reaction. Immediately, I noticed social media posts were being made about the pandemic, a lot of them satirical and jokingly. Many people were panicking at first, and buying out all of the essential supplies (such as toilet paper and food) before the quarantine was announced. This blew my mind. Before the pandemic I remember seeing supplies such as toilet paper, taking up entire rows of shelves. It was surprising to see the shelves emptied so quickly. It seemed like there was so much of everything that they would never run out, but they certainly did.

    For those who are reading, my most important advice to you, if you were ever in this situation, would be to listen and keep updated. Many people have gone against the social distancing rules because they are tired of being quarantined in their homes  (“quarantine fatigue”), or are going out in public too soon because businesses are starting to open back up again. I understand the desire to go out, because I too, am feeling the “quarantine fatigue”, but going out prematurely puts many at risk, and can cause the virus to spread quicker. People are getting too eager to go out after hearing the decrease in hospitalized cases, but that doesn’t mean the pandemic is over. Keeping up with the news and executive orders is also something I find very crucial to those experiencing a pandemic. The government and elected officials are coming up with plans to do what is best for the people in order to keep everyone healthy and safe. Don’t go against these orders, just because you, personally are tired or bored at home. Think of the lives of others you are putting at risk by going out!

    This pandemic has changed my view of community within my town and university. Members of my community are coming together to ensure those within society are staying safe, healthy, and stable with the repercussions this pandemic has caused. For example, volunteers and food services staff within a local high school are delivering free meals for qualifying families to ensure that those who are in need of food or unable to get food at this time, are fed. This pandemic has also changed my perception of community within my university as well. Despite being apart, Eastern staff and students are continuing to reach out and check in with everyone.

    This pandemic fits into a broader historical context that we studied within our American history class this semester because this pandemic is a part of history. This pandemic is a recent event that has impacted the function of America and society.

    Rather than taking this time to panic and flood my mind with bad thoughts about the uncertain future (we may not return to school in the fall, another wave of the virus may come or get worse, etc.), I take this time in quarantine to focus on a few different areas of myself and my health. I created a home workout routine (because I am unable to go the gym), and am continuing to make healthy food choices. I also have been taking time to relax and practice self-care. Finishing this semester of college has also been something I’ve been focusing on. In addition to my personal being, I’ve kept myself busy with other activities and hobbies. My family and I have been doing a lot of spring cleaning within our home, and have worked on a few home improvement projects. I also have been playing piano, cooking, and enjoying time outside on the nice days. These are examples of another piece of advice I would give to someone going through this pandemic, or something that I want people to understand. Yes, this is a scary event, and many are losing their lives. But the most important thing you can do for yourself and your community is kept yourself safe and distanced. If you are safe and distanced, those around you will be too. The more you follow guidelines and stay healthy, the sooner our daily lives can return to some level of normalcy.
  • The time in which we are going through now is unlike any other I have experienced before. Every part of everyday life has changed and is drastically different. This is the first time our country has gone into lockdown like this and had a nationwide scare in a long time. Everything has changed and there is a possibility it may never be fully the same again.

    For me, at first I held out hope we would be returning to school and everything would be back to normal after a little while. I did not expect for quarantine to last as long as it is and it will continue for a bit while longer. Every part of my daily life is different than it would be. Now I can’t even watch sports on TV to relax as everything is gone. Coming home from school was weird as I came home to a very different environment than the one I left from. I was also affected because my grandparents live near me and are high risk so I can not see them unless it is for bringing groceries quickly. Although I know it is necessary, the quarantine is definitely getting harder as the days go by and personally I hope it is soon that they find a cure and can start to normalize life again. It has also taught me to not take anything lightly as people, places or things can be gone at any moment.

    The coronavirus is a one of kind situation that I may never experience again in my life. I never thought something of this magnitude could happen but it opened my eyes to the possibilities and that anything truly could happen. It was crazy to see how everything has changed so drastically and makes you not take anything for granted as it can be gone at any moment.

    In my own town, you can see the direct impact of everything as this whole thing has been going on. Many families I know of have parents losing their jobs, getting reduced hours etc. This shows the impact that pandemics like this have on the economy as well. Lots of businesses and stores have been struggling with lack of success and thus creates problems for many everyday people when they have no income. My own parents are now working from home mostly everyday so it has been weird being home with them at times. They are definitely not used to it as talking to them I can tell they want to be getting out of the house and back into the offices full time. It takes a lot of energy and focus to stay on task when you are stuck in the same place for hours on end doing pretty much the same routine every single day. My friends have also had similar experiences as everyone is cooped up looking for things to do. Normally around this time I would be working and playing lacrosse so for us it is taking a lot of getting used to as it is not fun having the fields and everything closed all the time in my town. People are getting fined if they are on the fields so as of now staying home and finding ways to stay busy is the best solution.

    In conclusion, the corona virus has become an event that will be remembered until the end of time. There has never really been something on such a large scale as this virus and it will change humanity forever. People will remember this time period for the rest of their lives as well as their children and those after.

  • I can confidently say that the past two months have been the hardest two months I have ever had to endure in my lifetime. This virus has completely changed the way we view the word normal and has changed everything about the way American society runs and how Americans view their lives. I have never been through such a time and my life will never be the same.

    The week before spring break, rumors flooded the campus from the news and other classmates about a possible extension to spring break, or a few weeks of online classes. Nothing too serious and at the time, and certainly nothing anybody really questioned too much. It was exciting news to me that I may be able to be with my , whom I had not seen since January, for an extended period. Home cooked meals, online classes, my own bed, my high school friends all in town again, how could the situation get better? The first week I was home was great. Hanging with friends every day, working part time officiating soccer games on the weekends, sleeping as late as I wanted to, until we got the news. Late in the week I was informed that we should begin staying at home as much as possible and avoiding contact with humans outside of our immediate family at all costs. This is where it became tough, and this is where a new norm was introduced to society. The term quarantine went from a word I may have heard in a properly written literature in a high school English class to a word I now use or hear every day. The virus, which began in China, had slowly but surely reached the United States through international travel and other factors that have allowed the Covid-19 Pandemic to spread at alarming rates, and it wasn’t long before it became scary and arose public outcry.

    Life went on as the virus closed more shops and canceled more events. After two weeks of being at home, I got the email. This single email made me lose all hope and really put into perspective how serious the situation was. The email informed me that Connecticut State University students across the country would not be returning to school for the spring semester, and that online classes would ultimately finish each course. Online classes are difficult, I will not lie. It is difficult to understand every concept that is being taught in class and without person to person office hours some questions that I have are never able to be answered in depth, which is not something that helps me as a student. I learn a lot better one on one rather than in a classroom setting and not being able to see teachers hurt me a lot. I was finally able to get the hang of it in the coming weeks and I started figuring out how to be successful in an online environment.

    Being at home for about a month, I finally found a routine that worked for me and I was beginning to close in on some normalcy in a world that was no longer normal. I was getting my work done on time and my grades were reflecting it. All was great, until my nightmares became a terrifying reality. At 3 O’clock in the morning on Thursday, April 23rd, my family was awoken by the potent smell of smoke and an immeasurable feeling of heat arising from below in our basement. A space heater had short circuited resulting in a mechanical fire that within an hour had engulfed my family’s home in flames. I stared at and watched from the streets everything I owned and all the memories I had created in that house leave, as if the smoke was the soul of my belongings rising up into the air, disappearing forever. The image of my bedroom windows shooting flames out of it as if dynamite had been detonated on my bed will ever leave the back of my mind. Within two hours of my family abruptly, but safely exiting the house, our home had turned from a place where my parents raised their two kids and began a chapter of their life into an unrecognizable pile of ashes, charred objects and smoke damaged belongings. It still feels like I have not woken up from this nightmare, as the aftermath of what has taken so much from us rips a little out of my heart each time I see it.

    Amid a time where we are advised to stay home at all costs, I no longer had a place to call home. In a dangerous time where even the touch of an outsider could sicken you and your family, I now was moving around house to house in my friends and family as if a lockdown had never been put in place. Now, without the means to do most of my schoolwork as my laptop, books and notes had perished in the fire, life became a lot harder, and finishing school was the least of my concerns. I now had responsibilities itemizing everything in my house from head to toe and trying to pluck every salvageable item out of a house which contained over twenty years of memorabilia, pictures, clothes, you name it. Luckily, with the help of some fantastic professors and people in general, I was able to get back on my feet just enough where I could finish my academic courses to the best to the best of my ability by the end of the semester. From professors mailing me textbooks to condensing my work load to make it more manageable for me, I was able to rebound and this week I am completing all of my classes, something that had been stressing me out in the weeks following the fire, and something I viewed impossible when devastation struck my family.

    Since I have been able to move into a temporary home, a small amount of normalcy has returned to my life, but not enough to feel the same. There are people coming in and out of the house every day with intentions to help us in any way they can, but it scares me. It scares me because I know this virus is not something to be taken lightly and even though I have things going on that may be seen as more important and degrading, it can’t take away the severity of our global crisis. Being exposed to so many in the past weeks, I am praying that I am lucky enough to remain in good health and that my family will be okay through all of it.

    This situation is one that has never been seen on a global stage like the one we are enduring right now. This virus is sure to change the way the world approaches medical issues and even the way civilians live their everyday lives. I can predict that as a country the United States will become far more conscientious about what we are doing in our everyday lives and this could possibly result in what we adopt as a new “normal”. After this lockdown is removed from everyday life, everybody will think a little harder before going certain places and doing certain things. One part of life that will greatly be affected, in my opinion will be showing signs of affection or respect to people in the forms of hugs, kisses, handshakes, high fives, or even giving someone knuckles. Being an athlete, I grew up learning that you respect that opposing team before and after the match in the form of a handshake, high five, or something of that matter. I cannot imagine ending a game and walking off the pitch without shaking hands afterwards. Could this virus change this aspect of life for good? Will people be more suspect over touching and feeling? These are questions that time will show the answer to after this virus is eradicated.

  • I am a first year student at Eastern Connecticut State University, and had my school year disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. I am also on the cross country and track team, which unfortunately I missed out on my first year of outdoor track. I've worked at BJ’s Wholesale Club in Willimantic now for about two years and I am experiencing this pandemic in a different way than most others since I’ve seen the fear and panic of every member who comes into the store to shop.

    By mid March, the shelves at work were completely empty. There was almost nothing. The meat department had nothing, there was no produce, very little dairy like milk, eggs, and yogurt, and also no frozen foods like vegetables and prepackaged meals. Also, there was no toilet paper or paper towels. The store looked a mess, and based on the members shopping, they are telling me that the other stores look the same. People were struggling to find things they wanted to buy. Toilet paper appears to be the big issue, people are searching everywhere for it, and will do anything for it. After a few weeks of being completely depleted of toilet paper and getting a thousand phone calls daily of people asking if we have any, we finally got a truck load of toilet paper. It actually lasted the entire day and there was still quite a bit left on the shelf when we closed at 9pm. It is limited to one package per member now too which helps a lot. We were still out of disinfecting sprays, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, wet ones, bleach, toilet paper, and paper towels. We were also really low on water for a while, and ran out at one point, but we got more in and started limiting the amount members could buy as well. The truck load of toilet paper didn’t last long, and soon we were out again. People are still panic buying anything they can. I understood the panic at first because people were unsure if grocery stores were going to close, but now that people know they aren’t going to, there isn’t a need to buy more than you need for a couple weeks.

    There were a lot of people that came into the store wearing masks. At first, the CDC was saying that masks won’t stop someone from getting COVID-19, they only stop the infected from spreading their own illnesses. However, it is still quite frightening to see all these people wearing masks, it just shows how big of a deal this is. After the rapid spread of COVID-19 continued, the CDC then began recommending that anyone going into a public space should be wearing cloth face masks. With new evidence, they say that there are too many people that are asymptomatic and are spreading to people in close proximity. The CDC says “The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders”. After the CDC put this recommendation out, it became mandatory to wear face masks at work. It made me feel better now that we all have to wear one. Policies were changing daily at work, employees now must go in the back doors to get our temperature taken by a manager before coming any further into work. We would get sent home if we had an elevated temperature. Something I found very interesting was when a tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York tested positive for COVID-19 which made lots of people worry about whether or not their pets could get infected. This is intriguing to me because I wonder what caused them to test the tiger for this virus. I’m curious how the tiger was acting that made them test. I’m now also worried about my cats because I wouldn’t want to get them sick. Since myself and both my parents are still working with the public, we are being very careful with trying to clean off before coming into our house where we could potentially bring germs to my siblings or now even potentially our pets.

    It seems like at work the shoppers are either really rude and inconsiderate, or they are the complete opposite and so understanding and thankful. There is nothing in between right now. People either get super irritated and mad that we don’t have something in stock, yet there are others who are thanking us for working through this and understand why our supply is so limited right now. Some of these people coming into the store clearly have no idea what’s going on in the world right now, or I guess they just don’t care. I see full families coming in to shop and see their young children touch the cart and other places around the store. I just don’t get why people can’t leave the rest of their family at home and just have one person go in the store, I just don’t get why people want to put their children at risk. You only need one person to go in and shop, it is not the time to browse around, this is the time to get the essentials and the essentials only... There is way too many people coming in and walking out with only children toys, or clothing. Other stores are starting to block off non-essentials like clothing since this is not the time to buy them. People are coming into grocery stores because they are bored at home and have the need to go somewhere. But what they don’t realize is that they put all of us workers at risk by doing that. “Stay home, stay safe” is Governor Lamot’s order for a reason!! I fear I could come in contact with the virus and I need to keep myself and my family safe. Things just keep getting scary by the day. Each day I go to work I realize all the people I come in contact with, and all the potential I have to come in contact with someone ill.

    Classes are going alright. They seem to be a lot harder than when we were physically going to class. It’s hard to keep up with everything and get it all done on time. For most of my classes, I get assigned additional work to do along with listening to the lectures which is more than when we were physically going to classes. I am a lot less motivated to work on my art projects for my studio art class. My creativity right now is just really low, and I don’t feel that inspired. It is like a chore to sit down and paint for an assignment. I’m trying my best to manage my time and work on things slowly before the due dates are here, but the days just keep flying by and it makes me really nervous. I just want to do well this semester and not have my grades suffer from online courses.

    I drove by a local park one day, Shetucket park in Willimantic. The playground there was blocked off with a bright orange divider. The basketball hoops also did not have a hoop to it, the rims and netting was all taken down. It’s just so crazy that these are the measures that are needing to be done to keep people safe. Community members have created hearts, and thank you notes to put in their yard near the road to thank the healthcare workers, first responders, and essential workers. This just shows how even in the worst times, society and community can come together to support everyone. It’s important that through all this struggling people can still come together at a distance and fight for the same cause. This is a worldwide pandemic, it is not just impacting the United States, so it is important that we show support towards the entire world. The teachers of where I went to high school, did a parade for this year's seniors by driving by their houses cheering and honking their horns. The local fire department and police also assisted in it to control traffic so the teachers could all stay together.

    If I wasn’t going to work everyday, I think I would definitely be extremely bored at home. Once classes are done I also won’t have as much stuff to do at home. However I have goals. I am trying to stay as positive as possible. I want to keep up with running and train really hard to have the best cross country season in the fall. I want to spend this extra time to better myself, clean out my bedroom, and create a positive atmosphere to work in. It’s crazy to realize that this is history in the making right now. This will not be forgotten much like the American history that we learn in school. I hope with all these unfortunate events going on, that soon thingswill improve, and soon the world will be back to as normal as possible.

  • Life is good…or it was until I went to the store to buy needed toilet paper for my shared dorm room. How does a store not have toilet paper? Correction, how do NO stores have toilet paper? I wasn’t initially worried; my mom would have toilet paper, and all would be good in my world again. Mom to the rescue, right? Wrong! My mom couldn’t find toilet paper either. This, as I later learned, signaled the beginning of the end.

    As a sophomore entering my junior year in the spring of 2020, things were going as planned. I had been admitted into the Social Work program officially, thanks to a 3.86 GPA that I had been working so hard to achieve. My roommate’s situation was great; the four of us had worked out our differences from the previous semester and finally had all grown very close; these girls and I would be forever friends especially after the plan of sharing even tighter quarters next semester. The thought of sharing an actual room with someone earlier in the year would have had me a little panicked but time, patience, compromise and breaking things down to build them back up created strength in the friendships that made me believe that next year would be the best year of college yet. Weeks later as I leave my dorm for spring break, I wonder if any of us will return this year. I wonder what so much time away will do to our bond, and I even wonder if we will all return.  Instead of being college kids sharing fun memories that we will remember for a lifetime on a typical college weekend, we are all, instead, freaked out that we will be sharing this new CoronaVirus, aka COVID-19. We did not know what this new illness meant or if we would come back to our home away from home, that we all cherished.

    Coronavirus is a rapidly changing virus that is highly contagious and requires social isolation for containment purposes. When we left for spring break, we would all be saying goodbye for an extended, and unknown period of spring break, but we also all chose to believe that we would reunite after a few weeks. There was a slight thought that we might not return, but neither I nor my roommates wanted to face that reality. We all hugged, a no-no to this virus, but how could we not? We counted our blessings for technology and the ability to see each other face to face at least on a digital screen. I was fortunate because one of my roommates who didn’t have a place to go was coming home with me. Life was still good.

    Within a few days of being home, the media was predicting world doom and gloom. Italy, China, Spain, and France were in a medical crisis. Hospitals were at capacity, and people were dying.  Things did not look good for us returning to school and isolation was being imposed at a much more rapid rate. State by state, guidelines were being suggested and some were being mandated. So much for the typical college spring break. The bars were closed. Restaurants were closed. If we were lucky, we could find take out food and coffee. My roommate returned to her state by car. Life was shutting down for a bit. As quickly as I thought life was being contained for a bit, I learned just as quickly, that we would not return for the remainder of the semester. How could things change so fast? In actuality, the speed at which life was changing was representative of how quickly this virus spread. It was exponentially spread, 58 people infected one day, and days later 4,000 people. 4,000 people have rapidly become 10,000 cases. One day my county was the only county in Connecticut to not be taken over by the virus. Updated as of May 8th, 2020, my county has 681 cases, my town has 137, the U.S. has 1.5 million cases and the world is close to 4 million. I fear for our population at this point and am happy that the school took swift and immediate action. I miss my roommates, and the freedom of college life I took for granted. I hate the containment and social distancing but I know that it's for a greater good. I will also never take toilet paper for granted ever again and thankfully, in the usual form, my father was the hero who went on a search and found enough to hopefully get us through this crisis in history.

    There are good and bad things happening as a result of the new lifestyle of isolation we are experiencing. If you are optimistic, you will probably look at the positives, which include spending time with family and taking classes in the comfort of your bed. But like there is good in situations there is always bad. The isolation of this crisis is affecting everyone greatly. Suicide, addiction relapse, domestic violence, death, grief, and many more terrible things are the result of being stuck in isolation. People lost their jobs and had to close down businesses. How are people supposed to feed their children? How are people going to survive? Just like during the Great Depression, the economy and lifestyle of citizens are in turmoil. Watching the news every day since coming home has kept me involved and updated. People are going crazy being stuck in their homes not knowing what the future holds. The worry that business owners have when wondering will they even be able to open their business again. Front line workers are risking their lives and the lives of their families at home to keep our communities safe. Police officers, such as my dad and brother, still go to work every day to do the job they signed up for which is to keep people safe and happy. I know this is something that they all have chosen as a career, but still, I and all the families of these brave first responders are so very grateful. ​Medical staff have acted as angels on earth walking strangers  through their final goodbyes via facetime, holding them with gloved hands knowing that it will be the last human touch the person feels. Exhausted medical staff have been shown wiping away their tears as they try to gain the strength to battle the virus with  their next patient while wondering if they dare to hug their own children when their shift finishes; it is the one thing they need, but fear often stands taller. A renowned chief of a New York emergency department could not bear the pain of seeing more patients fighting helplessly for life; she joined the 60,000 other victims of COVID-19 by taking her own life. She is among at least 6 other medical professionals who have done the same and the fear is that there will be many more who experienced realities that the mind is not prepared to have to process. Many people fear what will happen in the future and sometime that intense fear leads them to think suicide is a better option. People with mental illness have to experience this way harder because some already have this horrible idea in their head. Can you imagine how the mentally ill population must be impacted? For people with mental illness, like my twin brother, is especially difficult and confusing.  They need the consistency of routine and during this time, they are having a very hard time understanding what is going on.  Their worlds are being flipped upside down and some of them don't have the support they need. ​Protests are spreading around the country like wildfire. 

    People want the lifestyle we all took for granted back. I try not to be sucked into the anxiety and depression inducing mindset that many others are suffering from. I choose to stay informed but also take time to self-care. I know we will all get through this, but we need to follow the directions given to us by the public health officials. We need to social distance and pray for those who have been greatly impacted. We need to respect and  thank those who are risking their lives to save ours. We can not move forward without defeating this virus and theonly way is to be strong, smart, safe, and hopeful.

  • Dear Jordan,

    As I reflect on my time here at home, I have realized that the COVID-19 pandemic was meant to happen to this generation sooner or later. I take the time I spent at home as lesson to figure out myself, and how to improve myself to better not only myself but everyone around me. It’s important to take a step back from reality and remember this might be a good opportunity to have self-growth.

    March 13, 2020 was the day that I left school, and I knew deep down we weren’t going to come back for the rest of the semester. I learned from my classes in my first semester of freshman year that throughout history, pandemics took a good amount of time to control, and rehabilitate the economy. I also knew how severe this pandemic was too.  It was so hard saying goodbye to everyone I loved. It felt like we just got back to school, and I was just starting to get used to my classes too. 

    Coming back home was okay for me. My family and I are very close so that was the least of my worries. Other countries started to become on lockdown and the U.S still wasn’t doing anything to take precautions. The boarders for leaving our country didn’t have any new changed policies, international airports remained the same as thousands of people weren’t dying in China, ,or Italy while slowly reaching the U.S and other countries. In my opinion, the U.S could have taken some actions before it came into the U.S. The government finally decided it was best if only non-essential workers got to stay home. Essential workers (banks, grocery stores, fast- food restaurants, gas stations, hospitals, etc.) would have to keep working depending on what their boss is asking them to do. And on top of that, in order to keep some businesses, open President Trump was giving out small loans. My mom was affected the most during this time. She is a branch manager, and VP of Fairfield County Bank. My mom would have to wake up 4 a.m. and go to work, only to come home around 8 p.m. because of the loans that trump distributed. It was like essential workers had to work so that the economy wouldn’t become any worse than it already was.

    The limitations for some countries have been eased, or even lifted, but the U.S is the leading country for the COVID cases, so we still have a long way to go. Hopefully more people start to take this more seriously because of their loved ones, the economy, and us for our Earth.

    Online school was beginning to get challenging. On top of schoolwork I also had to figure out my housing for next year, my classes for next semester, and I had to be a sister, daughter, and friend all at the same time. My family started to get into more arguments the longer, and longer we had to stay in the house. We would snap at each other for no reason, or we would be begging each other for time to ourselves. Being stuck with the same three people every day was so difficult that it was hard to be happy all the time. We were getting frustrated that the dynamic of the house was changing, and everyone was stressed out we couldn’t leave, we had to do online school, my dad had to even file for unemployment. It was such a tense and stressful time but eventually we adapted to it. We learned that if we just start changing old habits it might be easier for us to get through this together.

    What was even harder for my family and I was the passing of my grandmother during COVID. She didn’t pass from COVID, but it felt like it. It was very unexpected, and her heart gave out and couldn’t have been at a worse time. She lived all the way in Florida, and we couldn’t even be with her when she took her last breath. We were mailed her ashes and we still haven’t had a funeral. Once all of this is over and things begin to go back to normal, her death will hit us all over again because we couldn’t grieve in the right ways during this pandemic.

    COVID also changed how the dynamic was in our country in many ways. How we got things for home was a start. Some people obeyed Trumps warnings and others just did whatever they wanted and pretending like a pandemic wasn’t in effect at all. Even celebrities were posting and telling people to “stay home so we can get through this together”. COVID 19 was an event we will never forget. It put people back into a “reset”. I saw more people outside and enjoying the sunshine with their families than I’ve seen in the longest time. Emissions for China were down in the city because everyone obeyed the laws. Hopefully everyone can take this time to learn from our mistakes and clean up our acts. For our future.
  • During the last two months, both in the United States and around the world people have been traumatized by the outbreak of COVID 19. COVID 19 has been characterized by senior health officials as an extremely severe respiratory illness that is highly contagious. Mass amounts of people have become infected and in severe cases, a large portion of that population has died from the virus. After the virus began to spread rapidly throughout different countries and finally through the United States, colleges and schools all across the country have transitioned to online learning to protect young people from catching the virus and further spreading it. My name is […] and I am a sophomore at Eastern Connecticut State University where I study psychology. On March 11th students of ECSU were informed that classes would be held online for the two weeks following spring break, on March 17th it became known to all faculty and students that online learning would continue till the end of the year due to the severity of the situation. In this brief essay, I will be talking about how the transition to online learning has impacted my education and I will also address how the virus has impacted my personal life.

    Following the spring break, ECSU took steps in transitioning from on-campus learning to online where students would participate in their classes from home and work on their computers. I take 5 classes and the majority of them were severely disrupted when the shift occurred. Lectures, classwork, homework, and tests were all done online. Most professors record audio lectures and pair them with powerpoints while some professors write out their lectures and have us read through them. These online lectures have been lacking specific features you would find in a regular college class such as good communication, teacher-student interaction, and thoroughly planned classwork and assignments. Learning through audio-recorded lectures deprives us students of the in-class experience and quality lessons that are now being altered to a subpar form that fits into an online lesson.

    Also, a common issue I’ve had to deal with an adjust to is the lack of structure within my school day. I rely on my routine which allows me to stay productive and get my tasks done on time. When I lived on campus I planned my day around my classes. Physically being in class was an important aspect as it allowed me with structure and a routine. Listening to lectures in class, interacting with my professors and peers made college a much more pleasant and manageable experience. It provided me with good communication between myself and my professors, high-quality notes, and access to extra help if I needed it. After being deprived of these much-needed resources I am stuck spending much more time on homework and in-class activities and I have a limited amount of free time to relieve stress. Things have been very stressful lately, to say the least. Since starting online classes I’ve had to restructure my days and adapt to the change to make my classes more manageable. It has been a struggle especially because I am living at home and constantly distracted by my family and the extremely scary crisis. However, I do my best to listen to lectures when they are uploaded, complete in-class assignments and homework by or before their due date, and reach out to professors as needed. After experiencing this dramatic change in my academics I am looking forward to returning to campus next fall and continuing my education in class.

    Beyond my academic struggles dealing with the virus itself has been very stressful. Both my parents are nurses and go to work at a hospital every day which exposes them to potentially infected people. More specifically, my mother is a hospice nurse and her job is to treat the COVID patients as they are referred to her team. Every day my mother comes home from work exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed because of this horrible situation the world is experiencing. It is awful to see how a virus like this can break people down and tear through their sense of security, people feel threatened by this including me. I worry that my mother will get sick and that I will then get sick because I am in close relation to her. My dad is also a nurse but refuses to go into work because he is immunocompromised due to health issues. I feel like things have gotten to a point where panic has overwhelmed our country and the people running our country aren’t addressing the true impact this virus has on our nation. It is also troubling for me to see the lack of empathy displayed by our president in regards to this crisis. I don’t think he fully understands the severity of this disease and the impact it has on so many people, not only the ones who are sick but also the people involved like doctors, nurses, and people on the front lines. The people who are out there in this warzone need to be recognized more than they are being.

    In conclusion, I’d like to say that with all that is going on I try to stay hopeful. I do my best to keep up with school and the online classes, however, staying safe both physically and mentally is the most important thing to do right now for all of us. This is a major crisis that will go down in history. We need to take care of ourselves and each other during this epidemic as it has been said it could take a while to calm down. When I am an adult and I look back on my sophomore year of college I will remember how stressful this time was and how hard it was to see my mother leave for work every day as she is putting herself in a warzone, but I hope I will also see how we all pulled through, worked through it together, and survived.

  • March 12th, 2020 was a day I never thought would ever come. It was the day I packed up half of my dorm to go home for two weeks due to the coronavirus. What I thought would just be a two weeks thing turned into much more than that. Soon those two weeks got turned into the rest of the semester. I couldn’t believe it; the ending of my freshman year was canceled, and I had to proceed with classes online. When I first heard of COVID-19 I never imagined it would get to the point it is at today.

    For the past two months, people all over the world have been affected by this pandemic. At first, I didn’t think it was that bad and I thought people were just overreacting. That was until it came to the United States. The first wave of craziness came when toilet paper and paper towels ran out at basically every single store. I have never seen anything like it before. People are ruthless when it comes to getting something that is a rare item. Everyone is pushing and shoving and not sharing with others. So many people did not have enough supplies because there were so many people hoarding these essential supplies that are needed by everyone. People started building up stockpiles, as my father did. My dad went to BJ’s and bought the bulk items of food and supplies to put in our spare room to have just in case we suddenly couldn’t leave our homes. It all really started to sink in then. Once schools, stores, and certain services started to close is when I thought, “Okay, this is happening. We are really going through something big here. Something historic”. This is something that is going to be talked about for a very, very long time. It will most certainly be in history books in the future and this virus will be taught about in science classes and the medical field. Everything the president and other politicians do and say is severely under a magnifying glass due to the fact that their people are relying on them to get them out of this, especially financially.

    Unemployment has become one of the biggest problems. So many people lost their jobs due to businesses closing or shutting down for the time being. I personally know several people who have filed for unemployment and waited three weeks until they got it processed and started getting paid. These people were scared they weren’t ever going to get their unemployment money and wouldn’t be able to pay their bills. There has been a scramble for jobs by everyone such as those who have lost their jobs and college students who haven’t had a job while at school and weren’t included in the stimulus check. The government failed to include college students in their stimulus check they handed out to American citizens around April and May. Although schools did give refunds for those who pay to be on campus, many people did not get that much back. All the government did was put a hold on student loan interest. This does help college students in the long run however, it does not in the exact moment we are in. That does not help that many of them have bills to pay and no job to go to due to the fact that they were at school. And for those that did get a good refund they may be putting that money towards their loan while they can and there’s no interest to help them out more in the long run. Doing this, however, leaves them short of money and still without any income. Being a college student is tough. You are not sure what the right move is when it comes to money, so you are basically taking a chance with what you do. You are unsure of when this will all end so what you do could be beneficial or detrimental.

    Getting a job is a whole other problem. With working comes exposure to humans and germs. People who are currently working are called “essential workers”. This includes doctors, nurses, teacher from home, EMTs, firefighters, cops, and those who are in the few retail and grocery stores that are open. Once you get laid off or come home from school unemployed you were faced with the question of whether to get a job or not. The benefit was the pay is increased due to hazard pay and it is an opportunity to get out of the house. The negative is that you are allowing yourself to be at risk and potentially exposed to the virus. Another negative is that you have to deal with the customers or people who you interact with during your job and people have not been so nice during this pandemic. I have personally seen and dealt with ruthless and selfish people whilst out at a store. In stores there are arrows to walk certain directions down isles and when someone disobeys those arrows you better get out of the line of fire of the person who will yell at people for not following the arrows. If you get too close to certain people, they will freak out and you will get yelled at and you will not want to go outside again. It is crazy how people are acting and treating others negatively when we should be coming together to fight through this scary time.

                One thing I haven’t heard many people talk about is the mental health side of this whole pandemic. I personally believe that the mental health of the United States will immensely decrease due to being quarantined inside. I have personally seen people in my life fall apart mentally from not being able to have constant human interaction and having to stay inside. They have become depressed and anxious from the thought of what this virus could do. It could potentially kill them if they git it which would cause their family much grief and would financially hurt them. People are not meant to be cooped up in their houses for this long and because of it people will start to go stir crazy and get depressed. COVID-19 won’t end once the quarantine is lifted and life “goes back to normal” because we are going to have to deal with the after effect which is the mental health part. It is going to be hard to get everyone back into regular life. It is also going to be a while before people stop wearing masks. Many people will keep the same routine of wearing a mask and sometimes gloves when they go out in public to do things. I personally don’t think I will just stop wearing a mask for a long time.

                This quarantine has taught me many things in just two months. Firstly, I have learned that hobbies are incredibly important. If you didn’t have a hobby going into this quarantine, you definitely are going to come out with a few. You need to find something to do in your spare time or else you will become incredibly bored and that is when the stir crazy and depression start to settle in. Secondly, I learned it is so incredibly important to save your money. My father showed the best example of this as he was able to buy tons of groceries and supplies we needed to stay safe and prepared to be locked in our house if the nation ever went into lockdown. Third, I learned that it’s okay to be scared. Things like this do not happen every day and for that reason it is okay to be scared and unsure of what is going to happen. No one can predict what is going to happen and when it will all be over so it’s okay to be a little on edge. Last but not least, I have learned to never take things for granted. We as Americans have lots of freedoms and don’t realize how good we have it. I am typically able to walk down to my cities boardwalk and go for a stroll on any normal day, but in quarantine, it is closed. I also take for granted the ability to see my friends and family as well as the ability to travel and have human interaction. I miss the days of not being scared of being within six feet of a stranger and not having a care in the world what way someone walks down an aisle. There is so much you realize you took for granted before that you have now lost due to COVID-19.

    I truly believe I will come out a morally better person that is just a little scared if you get too close to me. I can’t wait for the world to reopen and we all talk about the craziness we went endured and how we got through it. I believe there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and this quarantine will pass and life will go back to the way it was to a certain extent. No matter what that extent is I’m sure millions of people would agree it is better than what we have now.
  • Thursday March 12, 2020 was the day that I left to go home from Eastern Connecticut State University. I had packed my bags with enough clothes for about 3 weeks. The first week would be spring break and I had planned to go to Florida with my mom and grandmother to visit Disney World. The school had added an additional two weeks for us to stay home and quarantine as many students had planned to travel out of state over spring break. We were told that we would be returning to campus and attend our regular classes on April 6, 2020. I packed all my textbooks and any academic materials I might need to complete the two weeks of online classes. Two weeks of online classes did not seem too bad. I was relieved that I would have two extra weeks to be at home to spend time with my family. If our home stay had not been extended an extra two weeks I would have got home from Florida and had to return to school the next day. I was looking forward to being able to spend time with my sister, dad, and my boyfriend.

     In that moment of time I had not yet realized how serious the situation was. My dad picked me up from the university and the entire ride home we talked about what was going on. My dad had already been assigned to work from home because someone at his job had symptoms of Covid-19.  By the time we got home my mom was a nervous wreck. She was sitting at the computer in our house trying to figure out if we should cancel our trip to Disney World. By Friday we had found out that Disney World was closing. At this point we decided there was no point in going to Florida if we would not be able to go to Disney World. I was very disappointed that we had to cancel the trip. I am very close to my grandmother and I was looking forward to going to Disney with her. She had not been there in many years and had saved money to go on this trip and possibly get to see Mickey for one last time. I understood that it wasn’t worth any of us going on a plane at this time and risking anyone getting sick.

     Cancelling the trip ended up being for the better anyway because I was starting to feel not so great. My throat was hurting, my nose was stuffy, and I had a cough.  My pedestrian wasn’t open on Saturdays, so my mom brought me to a walk-in clinic. As soon as we walked up to the door our attention was drawn to big neon green signs. The walk-in clinic had put out these signs to stop anyone with a cough from coming in. The signs were telling people with a cough to go back to their car and call the number, so that’s what we did. I ended up having a phone call appointment in the car. It was a very strange experience. I told the doctor all my symptoms on the phone and they prescribed me antibiotics to pick up at our local CVS.  They also told me to buy a specific kind of cough drops to help sooth my throat. I was both reviled and shocked that I was given antibiotics without being seen buy a doctor or being tested for strep throat. Thankfully after finishing the prescription I had a very quick recovering and was back to feeling healthy.

    The next few weeks entailed of changes that I had never expected. My grandfather flew from Puerto Rico and moved in with us before the President shut down flights. My grandfather is very old and is no longer able to care for himself. At this point in time we expected that I would be returning to school in a few weeks, so we decided it would make the most sense for my grandfather to move into my room. I moved into my older sister’s room thinking we would be sharing a room for a short amount of time and it wouldn’t be a problem. Soon enough I received an email from the University on March 17, 2020 that the rest of the semester will remain online and we will be given a date to come back to the University to claim all of our items and move out. This was very disappointing news. I was not shocked considering that many schools had already made this decision. I was anxious about my classes becoming harder considering they would permanently be online for the rest of the semester, and I also felt overwhelmed that I didn’t have my own space. One of the main reasons I choose to go away for college is because it very difficult to do schoolwork at home. There are many distractions, and not enough quiet spaces for me to do schoolwork. I felt crammed and very out of place. Although I felt this way, I am glad that I was able to make the best of the situation and I am grateful that me and my sister get along.

    I feel much sympathy for my sister because this is her senior year of college. I feel terrible that her senior year has been cut short and that her commencement ceremony after all these years of hard work is most likely going to be canceled. Luckily her school plans to give their students a ceremony once all of this passes even if that means the ceremony happens in the fall, but many schools have completely canceled all commencement activities. Many 2020 graduates have been affected by this. High School and College seniors are unable to enjoy the graduation ceremony they deserve, and many high school students will never get to experience prom. Some students have decided to host their own virtual proms over Zoom which is very clever, and many schools are hosting virtual commencements, but hey will not get to experience walking in their cap and gowns to earn their diplomas.

    Eventually I was able to adjust and come up with strategies of how to do schoolwork at home.  We are currently a little bit over a month into this strange time of quarantine. While I am relieved that the semester is coming to an end, I fear that no longer having school assignments will cause me to have too much time with not much to do. The biggest struggle that I find myself facing is staying active and sticking to a schedule. It’s hard to stay in isolation and I find myself feeling down because I am unable to go out and do the things I enjoy. Home is the place where I get to relax and be lazy. With that being said it can be hard for me to be productive at home and continue a healthy lifestyle because it’s not the right setting. I’ve learned to adapt, and I’ve started to do some home workout videos to try and stay active. I’ve also tried to take advantage of all my free time by learning new things and new hobbies. I’ve done many puzzles to keep myself entertained and even tried some new recipes. I'm looking forward to the warm weather of summer heading our way as most outdoor activities such as walking, and hiking are safe to do while social distancing. Although I miss seeing my friends, I am grateful that I have my family and I am very grateful that no one in my direct family has been tested positive for Covid-19.

    These times are very strange and very scary. The few times I have gone to the grocery store I make sure to wear a mask. Now in most places it is mandatory to wear a mask. Going out feels strange. There are not many people around and the situation feels apocalyptic. It’s frightening walking into a grocery store and seeing many of the shelves completely empty. My local grocery store has a system of arrows on the floor in attempt to make people come in one way and exit the other. The state of Georgia has decided to reopen. Personally, I feel that we should not reopen until there is a vaccination. Many people have died, and it is not the right time to reopen. I think that once there is a vaccination and the country is reopened it will be very hard for people to get used to the way life used to be.  I predict that people will still be paranoid, and it will be difficult for people to starting dinning in public restaurants and going to public places. It is very scary and I hope my family remains to stay healthy and I hope a vaccination will come out soon so we can save more lives.
  • On March 13, 2020, along with the rest of the students at Eastern Connecticut State University, I packed up my belongings to head home for spring break. At the time, we had been told to pack more than we might need in the event that break was extended due to the spreading of a new virus. We were not too worried about it, and we were looking forward to an added week to our vacation. The last day of classes for the spring semester was May 8, and we had still not returned to campus.

    COVID-19 has spread like wildfire throughout the globe. So far, it has taken the lives of 298,000 people worldwide. With this pandemic, the world has been forced to adapt to a new way of life. I feel insensitive discussing my point of view during this whole situation because I know that there are people who have it so much worse. Doctors and nurses are working countless hours a day, with limited equipment, to try and save people’s lives. However, we cannot compare our struggles to someone else’s because we are all fighting different battles at the moment. The spring semester of school just ended, but not soon enough. It was a major adjustment going from the classroom to sitting behind a computer screen all day. I tried to stay patient and understanding with my professors, and they all reciprocated with kindness. Finding the motivation to work from home along with time management was very difficult at first. My expectation was that online schooling would be much easier, but it was in fact the opposite. Despite this, I found the motivation to do my best and push forward until the end of the semester. With my extra time that I was not studying or completing assignments, I would go on walks with my mother. This was one of the most eye opening moments for me. Whether it be the paper cut-outs of hearts in every window or the teddy bears perched up on rocking chairs, the sense of community and passion could be felt all around. Another thing I noticed was the amount of people out enjoying the fresh air. I have never seen so many people taking walks in my neighborhood, which is a sad thing to say, but it is true. Since this pandemic started, more people have been taking advantage of the outdoors. It is sad that it has taken a situation like this to make people appreciate nature, but hopefully it will encourage people to enjoy the outdoors after all of this. There has been an abundance of kindness throughout the world and I hope it continues when we return to a new normal. 

    Something that has impacted me a lot these past few weeks, along with many others, has been being unable to see my family. My grandmother lives in an assisted living facility not too far from me. It has been almost four months since I have seen her, and I think about it every day. She is not sick, which I am extremely thankful for, but not seeing her has taken a huge toll on me and my family. We had the opportunity to go see her through a window at her facility, but I chose not to go. She would not know what was going on and it would have made me more upset to see her and not be able to hug her and tell her how much I love and miss her. My father, her son, did go. He came back with regret that he did because his more recent recollection of his mother is now her looking disheveled and lonely through a glass window. It has also been difficult not seeing my siblings. My sister and I are five years apart, but our relationship is one of twins. I have never gone so long in my life without seeing her. Although we are able to see each other over Facetime on our phones, it does not make up for how much I miss her. Her boyfriend has a preexisting health condition that would escalate the effects of COVID if he came in contact with it, so she is being extra precautious not to leave the house unless she has to. Not seeing her has definitely been the hardest part about living in quarantine.

    Aside from me personally, a lot has been changing in society. If the pandemic was not bad enough, there are people protesting the quarantine. In every situation there are people who do not agree, but I never thought that when lives were put at stake people would go against the suggested orders of certified medical professionals. These people are angry because they feel that their constitutional rights are being taken away from them by having to wear face masks in public, and they are upset that they cannot attend the hairdressers. In addition to this, the President of the United States asked a doctor at a press conference if the injection of bleach or cleaning products could save people from the virus. Following this, brands like Lysol had to tell their customers not to drink or inject the chemicals into their bodies. The President later stated that it was a joke, but even so during a time of crisis joking around is not the wisest choice. Everybody has their opinions, but my take is that a time like this requires serious action along with a professional leader.

    My perception of society as a whole has changed. I believe that the world is so much grander than we take it to be on a daily level. We all have our own problems and events going on, but COVID has made me realize that at the core we are all really the same. We constantly live in the bubble of our own individual lives without realizing that, on a global scale, much more is going on. I hope to return to “normal” soon just as much as everybody else. However, our new normal may be very different from what we are used to. Taking it one step at a time altogether is the only way that we are going to come out of this pandemic stronger than before. Just as every other major event in history, whether it be war or famine, we will survive COVID together.
  • COVID 19 as we all know it has spread all around the world very quickly. COVID 19 is caused by a new coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and in many different species of animals such as camels, cattle, cats and bats. Rarely, coronavirus can spread between people like with MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV and now with this new virus called SARS-CoV-2. They have cleared that early on, many of the patience at the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread.

    As a college student this coronavirus has affected me in so many different ways that I would never have imagined before. It brought along many different challenges. The campus had closed down so I had to figure out a way to pick up my belongings from my dorm room which includes all my books and notes for all my courses. I only live about an hour and a half away from the school and it was a very hard process for me when it came time to move out my stuff. It was probably much harder for the students that lived out of state because they had just left for spring break. I know a few people that weren’t able to meet up with the move out schedule because they thought they were going home for one week and returning to finish the rest of the semester on campus. At the same time some countries started to close their borders leaving everyone that was out of their own countries worried.

    In addition to, being stuck inside had made it very challenging. It was very hard for me to stay focused because of all the distractions at my house. I have three siblings, they play around the house all day on top of that they also have their assignments that they need help with which also keeps me busy with them because we have to fight them to get their work done. It became very difficult to switch to online learning because all my professors were using different online tools such as blackboard, zoom, google classroom and more. I had to quickly learn the different tools and also learn how to adjust to being home schooled basically. For me to be able to get my work done I would either wake up early or stay up late to get my assignments done because those times were the only quiet times in the house when everyone is asleep. On the other hand, my health started to suffer because I was not as active anymore, I started to eat more out of boredom and it became frustrating being stuck in the house for so long.

    This virus has spread to all countries in just a few months causing a worldwide quarantine and a lock down. All businesses were given instructions on how to run the businesses in a much healthier way to keep everyone safe from the virus. Some businesses such as beauty salons, technology, retail, Disneyland or any entertainment businesses, hotels, malls, casinos and more had to close down. The only places that were allowed to stay open were markets, gas stations, hospitals, nursing homes, and any other businesses that are essential to everyday lives. We were advised to stay inside and only go out when necessary and when you’re outside make sure to stay six feet apart and wear masks to keep ourselves protected. COVID 19 has affected so many lives all around the world. The virus has caused so much unemployment, there is a significant cause of death in patients with the coronavirus and people are struggling with their health.

    Many workers were left unemployed due to the pandemic of COVID 19. New laws were taken into consideration in the U.S. during this pandemic to protect workers and address the profound economic impact. In late March two federal statutes were enacted to provide extended unemployment benefits, help struggling businesses and provide sick leave which are the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and the Coronavirus Response Act. The impact was enormous with 3.28 million applying for unemployment benefit in the week ending March 21. The number of new unemployment claims doubled the following week. (Richard Howard) Employers will also receive tax credits to offset the cost of providing paid leave.

    There is a significant cause of death in patients with the coronavirus. The number deaths contributed to COVID 19 is problematic because the criteria for defining a death certainly depends on whether the death occurs in somebody who tested positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. Furthermore, an unknown fraction of the cases of deaths had underlying health conditions and were probably already at an increased risk of death. For example people with heart diseases, diabetes and more. As this virus began to spread, cases began to increase as well as deaths. Weekly excess deaths were able to provide the most objective and comparable way of assessing the scale of the pandemic and farmalating lessons to be learned. This measure can be constructed by comparing the observed weekly deaths throughout 2020 to values expected from the experience of previous non-pandemic years. This approach will allow us to see how the pandemic affects different places. However it is hard to count the deaths from all the countries together because some countries do not publish such statistics.

    Lastly, people’s physical health and psychological health were affected drastically. Members of those who were diagnosed with the virus were not able to visit their loved ones at the hospital and that made it really hard on both the patient and the family members. With the disease growing, psychological symptoms will change drastically in affected patients; therefore, psychological intervention measures should be targeted and adapted as appropriate. COVID 19 has put so much stress on everyone especially those affected the most. As the virus spreads more and more there are people struggling with many different disorders due to the virus. For example, depression disorders, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, eating disorders, post-traumatic disorders and psychotic disorders. There are many telephone helplines that were opened for the public however, the organization and management of those activities had many problems. Because people were stuck inside they weren’t doing much physical activity which is very important for the body. Physical activity improves your overall health such as having a longer life, decreasing your risks of developing diseases, helps to manage stress and so much more. It’s important that you get 150 minutes of physical activity per week to help maintain your weight.

    Now as far as reopening countries go, some places like Florida, Texas, Georgia and many more are already reopened as of March. Hearing of countries opening back up is very scary because I don’t believe that a virus like this will end that quickly. Many businesses will have economic problems because a lot of people will be scared to go back to work so soon. No one can know exactly that this virus is done 100% because of how quickly it has spread.