by Joseph Kawaja
Without a doubt, all of you reading this know the one, great cure for the Coronavirus: Toilet Paper. Go to every store and stockpile as much toilet paper as you possibly can! IT’S THE ONLY WAY THE HUMAN RACE WILL SURVIVE!!! All jokes aside, this pandemic has caused us to become prisoners in our own homes, left millions filing for unemployment, and many more wondering the fate of our country. COVID-19 has not just affected the economy greatly, it has also created a huge ripple effect in the education system. Many students have already felt this effect as colleges have started classes again. For commuters, I’m afraid I can’t speak for the challenges they are facing, though I’m sure their situations are as complicated as everyone else’s. However, I am (or was) a residential student at HBU and the change of working from home is one that has affected me greatly.
For one, I always felt it was easier to keep track of my classes when I was there and immersed in that environment. Now that everything is online, it feels much harder to keep track because I have to keep posting homework to what feels like a hundred different discussion boards at once. Because I’m so used to living on campus, I’m used to being in an academic environment which mostly keeps me away from distractions. However, home to me is an environment of relaxation and rest, not one of academic progress. On top of this sudden change, there’s also the fact that my schoolwork is put on hold for most of the day because of my young niece. Her school has been cancelled as well, and because both my mom and her mom are working, I’m the one who has to babysit her. You wouldn’t believe the feelings of frustration that occur when you wake up at 9 and barely get even 25% of your work done before your 7 year-old niece shows up precisely at 11:30 everyday and wants you to constantly tickle her when you just want to get your three 500 word papers turned in before they’re overdue.
I’m sorry if it sounds like I’m complaining, but hey, the point of this article is to talk about the challenges of college during this panic. Anyway, I’ve also heard about plenty of other students whose parents have been laid off because of this crisis which I’m sure also presents challenges in terms of tuition and other financial responsibilities. Thankfully, I’ve heard of textbook companies releasing free online PDFs of their books for any students in need. If you’re an HBU student that is also struggling with studying in a home environment, and you’re in close proximity to HBU, they’re allowing people to use the Library and the Learning Commons. Furthermore, I’m sure every student can relate to the feeling of imprisonment we now have to deal with because of the stay-at-home order. The biggest problem is probably the lack of interaction we have with our friends, classmates, and teachers. Sure, we have the capability of chatting with everyone at once on platforms like Zoom or Skype, but it’s not the same. We can always talk to our friends and teachers, or even text them, but real, physical interaction is essential for humans. We have to see each other face-to-face, in person, and talk with each other about our weeks, about our families, and how everybody’s doing. We need to spend time with each other in person in order to maintain healthy relationships. Honestly, it does almost feel maddening to spend all of my time with my family 24/7. I love them but I want to spend time with friends, go to movie theaters, and actually go outside. The best time I’ve had while staying home is that I occasionally walk around my block for exercise. It’s the only interaction with the outside world I can get. All of this to say, this pandemic has made an impact on everyone’s physical, fiscal, and mental state, but most importantly it’s also affected our education. And as all of you start classes again, I want to wish you luck as we all adjust to this new process of schooling.