The Student in Me Died
April 30th, 2020
I recently saw a tweet that said “the student in me died this quarantine.” I have personally never related to anything more in my life. COVID-19 is stressful enough, but the aftermath of the first wave left lasting impacts on many students, including myself. This global pandemic, and the quarantine that followed, changed us culturally and socially in every aspect. It showed us how much we really valued the little things and took them for granted, how many actually thrived while in quarantine, and how many selfish others do not give a single shit about anything that is/was going on. I had the unique experience of not only being an employee of a higher institution, but a student as well. Not only did the pandemic sweep the rug out from under me at work, but it also impacted me heavily when it came to my academic and personal life.
I was full of excitement, ready to begin finalizing a semester project when the pandemic hit. I had enough trouble as it was trying to figure out and finalize scheduling dates for that class’ project. I was fully prepared to come out of Spring Break 2020 with all my ducks in a row, ready to rock my class when the break got extended. I got to go to work during that time and witness an institution, a district, and a state scramble and figure out how to confront this pandemic and continue to best serve Arizonians, the employees and students.
There was a lot of unease and hesitation when it came to working during that extended period. There still wasn’t much known about the virus at that time and people were beginning to be scared and questioning every decision that was being made. Eventually more information and clarification were released on the virus and we were able to begin working from home. I personally do not thrive being confined to my house for an extended period of time, and this pandemic hit me like a bus. My mental health declined rapidly, I had to switch up my whole routine. As an employee, I had to train in new areas to help my institution serve its students and our community. It was a major change from what I was used to and I began to get overwhelmed and feel the passion for helping people drain out of me as the weeks dragged on.
As a student, I was switched to a completely online format. I have taken online courses before but for some reason this was so different and so much harder for me than it needed to be. I lost all motivation and drive when it came to completing assignments and even attending the class meetings. I had to familiarize myself with additional tech resources like Zoom and Google Hangouts, which will help me in the future, but felt like the most exasperating thing to do at the time. And on top of it all, I felt horrible and guilty. I felt bad for losing passion for everything in my life. I knew everyone was trying their best to ease this as much as possible but I lost all interest in everything. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and I felt DULL. All of the days merged into one, I felt like I was losing track of everything. The lull made me feel so sluggish, all I wanted to do was sleep. And I missed the little things. Even though I was once a homebody 95% of the time; going to work, attending in-person classes and spending a day or 2 out of the week for a couple of hours with my friends or cousins kept me sane. I didn’t have that anymore and for a while it weighed heavily on me.
We are currently in Week 6 and I am finally coming out of it. I am playing catch up on all of the assignments that I let slip my mind but I am finally feeling productive and passionate again. This pandemic opened my eyes to how important health care and essential workers are. They are the true heroes of this pandemic and without them we would have never made it through. I hope that we continue to have this sense of kindness and connectedness when this is all over. It was amazing to see how everyone came together to combat this. It changed everything and it will be interesting to see its lasting effects as we move forward.
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