Students give perspective on COVID-19

Maddison October, William Wendelman, and

The coronavirus isn’t just affecting our bodies; it seems to have invaded almost every aspect of our lives. Many of our daily routines and schedules have either been thrown out the window or moved around drastically. 

Students are one of the many demographics who have been severely affected by the coronavirus, many of which had to move back home with their parents after their campuses have closed. Some are scrambling to find ways to substitute the resources they used while on campus that are no longer available to them, while others are trying to figure out how to balance home life and school work at the same time. 

In a panel discussion conducted remotely via Zoom by William Wendelman and Maddison October, five college students who had never met before came together and shared their experiences and their perspectives on the ways their universities and schools are handling the pandemic and their education. 

The panel consisted of: Cal State Long Beach junior Isabel Limon, Santa Monica College sophomore Elmer Zarate, Pacific Union College junior Bianca Botello who was studying abroad in Spain but now is home in California, MiraCosta College sophomore Franklin Lazaro Qee-res and Citrus College sophomore Sammantha Reyes. 

During the discussion, Wendelman asked the group, “Do you have the tools necessary to continue your semester online?” 

Reyes, a photography and graphic design major, explained that she was having a hard time with her classes because she relied heavily on the school’s computer lab to edit her photos and work on her design projects. 

One of Reyes’ professors is even suggesting that she withdraw from the course if she isn’t able to find a solution to her technology problem. 

“I have been fortunate enough to have (other) professors that are understanding, but for things that I have need to have certain programs for obviously those things can’t be helped,” Reyes explained. 

Reyes said that there has been talk about schools giving out laptops and equipment but she worries if there will be enough, “Everyone is limited in some way, shape or form.” 

The other students also shared their difficulties with either the lack of resources or the unfamiliarity with the new platforms that are being used by their universities. This experience isn’t only limited to the students that participated in the discussion, but it seems to be prevalent across the map.

Botello also shared that some of the students in her study abroad program had to withdraw from the program altogether because they didn’t have adequate resources to continue the program. 

Wendelman posed the question, “Do you think all students have access to the resources needed to finish their semester online successfully?”

“My school is not, I wouldn’t say a wealthy school,” Botello said. “So they don’t have a lot of computers, they don’t have a lot of just other resources to use, it sucks.” She said, however, that she was blessed to be able to still attend classes remotely and will still receive course credit. 

Unfortunately, that situation is a reality for a lot of students across the country, their ability to perform academically during this time is heavily based on the resources they are provided by their universities and colleges. If those institutions don’t have enough money allocated then their students begin to fall through the cracks. 

 “I have had a few friends drop their classes because they didn’t have certain resources,” Limon said. 

This brings up the issue that many students are facing, their graduation schedules being pushed back. Lazaro Qee-res expressed his concerns because he is planning on transferring to a four-year university in the fall and he needs to speak with a counselor to make sure his military benefits can transfer over. 

  Students are used to deadlines, that’s what shapes their academic career. Having something like the coronavirus that doesn’t have a definite end is daunting. Zarate said that he doesn’t know if it is even worth enrolling next semester if the university is still planning on conducting classes online. 

No one knows for sure when the coronavirus’s deadline is up or what the world will look like when this is all over, but Limon reminded us, “We are in this together.”