Q: How has the COVID pandemic affected you?

I would say that the COVID pandemic has significantly changed my life. Back on March 13th, I was in Puerto Rico on a community service project. I remember looking forward to going back on campus at Wheaton College (MA) to hang out with my new friends and finish off the plans I had left for the semester. On that very day, we received a notification from our school that we had to return to campus to pack our things and go home immediately. The COVID virus has been quickly spreading. When I got back on campus, it was completely silent. Everyone had left already. I packed my stuff as well and said goodbye to the handful of people that were still on campus and left. I didn’t realize how much our lives would change from then.

I spent the entire summer in my room. Honestly, I don’t remember a single thing I did other than sleep through my days. Each day felt the same and I eventually lost sense of time. Fortunately, my family members and I have not contracted the virus. We did everything we could to lessen our risk of getting it since my mother is most at risk. Nevertheless, the COVID pandemic has affected me personally, educationally, socially, and mentally. Because the pandemic was only getting worse, I thought that the best decision was to transfer to my local community college to do online learning. I feared that the virus would spread like wildfire if I went back on Wheaton College’s campus and they would just send us home again. I knew since my only option was to complete my sophomore year of college online that it would get pretty lonely. It's difficult for me to be unable to communicate with friends and be with the people I would see on a daily basis. I'm not used to being at home all day and working on my laptop. Even though I am continuing to adapt to this new lifestyle, it is still pretty hard.

Surprisingly, my fall semester was not too bad. I enjoyed the classes I took and did pretty well in them. However, this spring semester feels never-ending. Though I had selected the classes I was interested in taking, I just don’t have the energy to actually learn the content. Each assignment feels like a task that I must do to get by. Some of these assignments could take me an hour to complete but I end up taking over five hours to finish. With the pandemic still being prevalent, having to work on endless amounts of college assignments, participating in various extracurriculars, and working to obtain internships, I would say that I am currently dealing with the worst burnout. You can only do so much, but the constant deadlines during these times are draining.

Due to the factor’s outlined above, it’s been hard keeping in touch with friends. Also, social distancing has felt very disconnecting. I know that it is (distancing) the safest thing we can do for now but it feels very isolating. Many people have been disconnected from society as a result of this. Being alone in my room for all this time my mind tends to wander. The pandemic has made our futures full of uncertainty. I often find myself overthinking about what happens next, wondering how long this pandemic would last and when would life get back to normal. All we can do for now is continue socially distancing to slow the spread of the virus and hopefully put an end to this pandemic.