Final Project- College During the Pandemic
For this research, I conducted interviews with two students, one who attends Southern Connecticut State University and another who attends Penn State University in Abington. While conducting interviews with both students the following questions were asked.
1. What is your view of how your college or university is responding to the pandemic? How included/ excluded do you feel in the response? Why?
2. How has the pandemic affected your living arrangements? Your family? Your job?
3. What stressed and stressed behaviors have you felt or exhibited while going to college during the pandemic?
4. What has helped you focus on your college education during the pandemic?
The Fall 2020 semester was like no other, this pandemic has disrupted the lives of millions of people across the world has changed college as we know it for many students. What used to be a normal semester, going to in person classes getting a hands-on learning experience for some and roaming campus mask free with no worries of contracting a deadly virus has turned into a long, hard semester staring at computer screens at home or even at work for some. After speaking to both individuals and reflecting on my own experience I came to the conclusion that attending college during this pandemic affects an individuals based on how their life is and the things they have to deal with.
Attending University during the pandemic has been the most difficult experience the student from SCSU has encountered. She felt as though her University had a really good response to the virus in terms of keeping them up to date with cases and exposure. She also felt that the professors at the university were not sympathetic to fact that some students may be experiencing hard times. Like myself she is an immigrant but relies mostly on the university for living arrangements. After thanksgiving break, she had to go live with a family member, her aunt which made things even more difficult. She now has to help with bills from the very small check she receives working part time at CVS and provide food for herself. In that house there were two other younger children attending school virtually. Her aunt, being a single parent works two jobs and now asks the SCSU to assist her children with school so she can pick up extra shifts at work. She mentioned that this semester was extremely stressful and noticed a significant increase in the amount of anxiety attacks she would have. She spoke of an instance when she was at work and have a really bad anxiety attack after realizing she had missed a few assignments for a class. Thankfully her supervisor was very understanding and allowed her to take some time off from work. Finally, she said there were many times she felt like giving up, but she loves school and learning new things similar to what Eve mentioned in the documentary. She also had to constantly remind herself that this won’t be forever, and nothing is going to stop her from graduating, simply that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
For my second interview, I spoke to a single mother with five-year-old daughter who runs and operates a clothing boutique from home. The effects of classes being online, has proved to be very beneficial for her. She was able to do more classes this semester and plans to do the same next semester. She is now able to be home with her daughter and assist her with her schoolwork instead of going to campus for classes. Though it has been challenging balancing her child, classes and her business she saw where she was able to get more things done. After hearing that professors weren’t sympathetic from the first person I interviewed I was curious to find out if she had that same experience, which she did not, this is also something that I have noticed with my professors this semester, they were very understanding and willing to assist students where ever needed.
Personally, I found that the attending university during this pandemic has been very challenging. Before the pandemic I only work one job but then had to get another to ease some of the burden off my mother whose businesses in Jamaica has suffered tremendously due to the lack of tourists visiting the island. Because of having two jobs I have seen where there has been a significant decrease in my ability to perform as well as I used to in my classes. After reading the articles, watching the documentary and listening to other people talk about their college experience and how the pandemic has affected it is very interesting to see that the outcomes varies for different people. Some may not face many hardships but there are students who deal with issues such as food and housing insecurity.