Life in the Pandemic: Marymount University Students March On

Marymount University students enrolled in COMM 315 Writing for Digital Media shared their experiences of life in the pandemic and what they want future generations of Saints to know.

Anita Afzal

Ever since the coronavirus has been happening, my life has turned upside down. I am unemployed until April 3rd for now and could extend which all depends on the status of what is happening. My classes are all online now until the rest of the semester which I did not want to happen because this is my last semester at Marymount and wanted to make it my last and memorable semester at Marymount, and they also canceled graduation. However, this situation has led to being very depressed but I am still holding up. However, even though I didn’t want any of this to happen it did give me the chance to be close with my family and being able to have quality time with my family and enjoy my days off with them.

Jeffrey Aguilar

My experience so far during the pandemic began with my trip to Puerto Rico for Spring Break. My friends and I had this trip already planned months ago, but we kept getting advice from our family members and other friends to consider canceling the trip due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. We ended up going on the trip because there was only one case that had yet to be confirmed of coronavirus in Puerto Rico so we thought the risk wasn’t as high. Thankfully, we had a good time for our spring break without any of us feeling symptoms related to the coronavirus. However, when we got back home we realized the country was a lot different than it was before we left…The streets were dead quiet and empty with people stocking up on water, toilet paper, canned foods, etc. A lot of people had also already begun to be told to stay home from work or to work from home because of how rapidly the virus was spreading. Next thing you know, I am also being temporarily laid off at work due to low business. From the beginning, I didn’t take the coronavirus outbreak seriously because I thought it was going to go away quickly but instead it is affecting the entire world causing many fatalities, leaving many like me without a job. Adding on to the pandemic, the semester has also turned into online classes for the remainder of the year which is a big change for many of us who’ve never taken an online class before. It has been a crazy start to 2020, never did I imagine it would have started with a pandemic across the world.

Sadeem Al Hano

I find the fact of how fast our behavior has changed since the virus started to spread across the Earth amazing and frightening at the same time. I believe that such a change only occurs when societies fear extinction.

I chose to remain home and exit only if it’s necessary: to buy food, medicine, or go to the bank. Most of the time I’ll make one trip and get everything I need in a couple of weeks. During my time outside my house, I keep cleansing my hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer and wash my hands whenever I find a public bathroom. I do my best not to touch random surfaces like shelves or cashier’s desks and I keep my hands away from my face.

I do my part by keeping social distance and washing my hands so, in case I got infected, I won’t be a bridge for the coronavirus to infect people with a weaker immune system such as elderlies or people with chronic diseases. I keep hoping that a cure will be discovered shortly and the number of people cured will improve.

Khadija Ali

My job shifted hours to “half-days” and I got news last week that we will be closing for the next two weeks or until further notice. Every time I go to work, I want to leave but now that they have sent us all home, I want to work again because I’m bored. I appreciate things more now that I have been in quarantine for the past week. My schedule has been changed completely and I don’t know if I can go back to my original schedule. Marymount University has canceled graduation and I am hoping this Covid-19 is gone in a couple of weeks. I want to go back to normal and enjoy life again.

Noor Alnajidi

I have been on self-quarantined for two weeks now and I feel very confused and lost because I am an international student and my family overseas are worried because the news is being so extra that my family thinks things are worse than it is at the moment which is giving me so much stress seeing them panicking. I can’t go back and we can’t leave the country because they have closed all airports in order to contain the virus from spreading anymore. Above all, the school has been very stressful in this situation because I don’t know what should be my priority anymore, graduating or trying to focus on surviving and going back home. The amount of stress and confusion has been so much that I got to the point that I accepted the reality that I might not finish school even thought that I am still doing my work and managing between stress and having the motivation to finish school but honestly it’s the only thing that not making me go crazy because I feel like there is something still normal in this life and I like that I see people going through the same problem. I just want to let the future students of MU to understand if we got passed this hard times and still did school, you have no excuse!

Saeed Alyami

Personally, I didn’t take the notion of this deadly invisible disease seriously till it has escalated all over the world. Then, after tracking and watching the news constantly regarding to coronavirus, I became cautious, took it seriously, and felt sad for the world. This virus has shown us how weak we are and unprepared to face such a mad enemy scientifically, and by not appreciating, and supporting biological researchers. Also, most countries closed their borders, educational institutes, malls, cafes, bars, and restaurants temporarily because of this horrible virus, it’s like the whole world is being shut down. In my opinion, this awful pandemic virus is here to deliver a crucial hidden message to us as human beings, where we all must unite and safe humanity. At any case, I’m positive that we’ll go through this dilemma soon by the help of our devoted scientists, doctors, and hardworking nurses. To the Marymount community, stay strong and take care of your health and beloved ones.

Maggie Cheng
Watch Maggie’s YouTube video here.

As a senior at Marymount University my experience, so far from the pandemic is quite stressful but also relaxing. As I mention stressful, I mean as a first-generation college student, I never knew this day would come. After four years of working my hardest, spending countless nights without sleeping I never knew I would not be walking across the stage for my parents and to show them I actually did it. I’ll be trying not to overthink this situation too much because I know the safety of the students and staff are more important than a ceremony where someone can possibly contract the virus. Other than that, I have been quite relaxed at home. I haven’t left the house for a few days. Yes, I’ve definitely been social distancing. I’ve been quite occupied with talking to my friends online, being creative, playing games, editing and recording videos and an occasion zoom call for certain classes. I feel like what is going on with the earth at the moment, we should all be grateful for what we have and not take life for granted.

Aidan Cumming

My experience so far from the pandemic has not been positive. My biggest concern is with one of my classes which is in a subject I’m not particularly fond of. I dislike having to email questions constantly as it’s not the way I learn best. Moving along, home is getting a bit boring as none of my friends live near me and the gym for which I work at for physical strength and money has closed for an unknown amount of time. What makes me even more disappointed about the situation is that I believe people are overreacting because the media is always constantly talking about it. Whatever statics the media gets to say this percentage of people who got the virus and die must be skewed. Not everyone who gets the virus willingly lets people know for stats. I think that if death was involved people would be significantly more likely to go out of their way to let people know how someone got affected by the virus rather than if that certain someone lived. Therefore, I have concluded that the percentage for the survival rate is much higher than what the media declares. It wouldn’t be the first time their statistics were wrong. For example, when Hillary Clinton was supposedly supposed to win the presidential election by a landslide.

Naiya Dalce

When I first heard about it, I assumed that it was just about the flu. Then, it came on the news almost every day. Schools started closing, but I didn’t think ours would too. First, spring break extended, then classes were online. Finally, online classes were extended until the end of the semester. I was upset, because my senior year was basically over. I decided to go home, because I didn’t want to be around my roommates for that long. Especially without being allowed to go outside. I would’ve gone crazy. I was devastated when I found out that graduation was canceled. I have worked so hard, and I want to walk across the stage. I just think that it isn’t fair. It’s only March, and graduation is in May. What’s annoying is the fact that the university asked us to fill out a survey pertaining to graduation alternatives. Why ask us what we want after it was already cancelled! Also, it’s hard to do online classes, because that is not how I learn. I need to physically be in a class. Home is distracting, and I feel like I’m in summer break mode. I also think that the school needs to issue refunds. All in all, I’m trying to stay positive. I hope this ends soon.

Lauren Galdeano

I was expecting to have fun then go back to school after one week, but that is not what happened at all. Since at this point my job (Starbucks) was still open and operating, I returned to the Rixey to stay while I worked and did online classes. To my surprise I got an email on my first day back at work saying that we will be going on paid leave for the next two weeks. While I was back at the Rixey, my brother and my boyfriend helped my pack up a few things and we headed back home. As of now, I’ve been back home trying to catch up on work that I missed and still need to do. My family and I have been trying to stay positive and stay safe.

Vince Jones II

Life has come to a standstill. The sun is out, but no one else is. People are slowly starting to understand to stay at home but the virus is still spreading rapidly. It’s scary to think that up to 70% of people could end up having this virus that is capable of taking lives. I’ve been in my house doing nothing trying to distract myself from the outside world but every time you get out of bed or take a shower, it’s a reminder that we’re in these really scary times. The idea that by law, you won’t be able to leave your home is something that I’ve never experience before. This is all so new and while it still doesn’t feel like it, it’s very much so real. This next period of time is full of uncertainty but it will pass just like all things do.

Gelila Mesfin

The media plays a huge role in how society is to act, based off how they inform the public. The news and newspapers are instilling this idea of fear and anxiety. On the other hand, some doctors share their opinion saying this is a mild cold like virus. Who do you believe? So many opinions and with the help of the president, the people have never been more confused.

I must say this is strangest experience I have had to deal with in a very long time. I am bouncing around different motions, from fear to contentment to anxiety, even this idea of growth. It all just doesn’t make sense, and my body has a hard time adjusting all at once. Adjust. I believe this is the lesson I am to learn even while writing this piece.

Adjusting to different situations could be one of the best traits to have. I mean, we live in a time, where everything is not only changing, but changing before you even have time to process it. Although, I don’t have on-campus classes anymore, and I can’t meet with my friends, and all my favorite restaurants are closed; I am blessed to have an opportunity to continue my education virtually, FaceTime friends I haven’t spoken to in a long time, and learn some new Ethiopian recipes. While learning how to adjust to the changes, I have had a paradigm shift.

Trying to have control of how I view things, I have realized how much I learned since this pandemic took a hit in the U.S. I have learned so much about health. Never have I taken so much time to research immune-boosting foods and vitamins. I am also forced to cook my own meals instead of the constant Starbucks pastries for breakfast and sliced pizza for lunch. I have learned the importance of finances and having a savings account for times like these. I am grateful, while finishing my education I can live with my family, but if I had the responsibility of paying rent and the accompanying bills I would be in trouble. Looking to the near future, I have made it a point to look for a career that is able to adjust to situations like these. Because I was a server, the restaurant closed. My manager told me I would be able to apply for unemployment. I never thought I would hear those words. Although I don’t prefer working from home, the option is imperative for my future.

There are more things to come in my lifetime that I will not be able to control, however, having the characteristic to adjusting to change is vital. This then leads me to learn how to change my perspective. Thinking of all the negativity, will only hinder me form seeing the true blessings even while staying at home!

David Moreno

“I am not going to play a victim, I am stronger than this virus.” This is my mindset whenever I think about this epidemic. It has rocked me to my core, but I know for a fact that these hard times don’t last forever. I miss seeing my professors and friends. Not being next to them and telling them that everything will be fine is frustrating for me. I can spend a couple of weeks without seeing my friends or months but at this rate I feel like I will not see them for half a year. Having to see some of my friends who are seniors be saddened by the cancelation of their graduation ceremony breaks my heart. They don’t deserve this, the class of 2020 deserves better but I believe that something greater is coming for them. I am confident enough that there is something greater coming after this epidemic, and we will all celebrate. We will hug our loved ones, our friends, and we will rejoice once again. I have faith, and you should too. No matter what you believe in, always have faith. That’s the last thing that’s lost.

Macy Pope

This March is different for a few reason, particularly because I am here in Alabama. Wait, don’t I go to college in Virginia? Hold on, why are there hordes of children playing outside at noon when it’s not spring break… shouldn’t they be in school? Why is everyone panicking and buying toilet paper in bulk at Costco. Oh, wait. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic. Even the seemingly backwoods plains of Montgomery have been affected by the corona crisis. For a place known for its hospitality, people have distanced themselves far from one another, and restaurants that once housed loud groups of friends and family now sit empty as an underpaid teenager brings food out to patron’s cars, wearing gloves and a nervous disposition.

Hannah Ratcliff

What I would say to future generations of Marymount students is to be grateful that they are not in the 2020 graduating class. Having online classes for the rest of the semester under any other circumstances would make me more than happy. Every student’s dream is to crawl out of bed and go to “class” in their pajamas without ever leaving home. However, I never wanted this to be how my college experience ended. For seniors at Marymount, we had no idea that when we attended classes before spring break, that would be the last time we ever walked the Marymount campus as students. With the financial crisis we are about to endure, the careers that we were excited to begin are now even further from our reach.

What I was most excited about for graduation was walking across the stage with the five friends that have been by my side since orientation week and finally being able to say “we did it.”I’ve grown a lot academically during my time at Marymount thanks to my professors and classes, but that’s dim in comparison to how much I’ve grown from knowing my friends. For me, graduation was more a celebration of friendship and personal growth than academic achievement. The class of 2020 has worked just as hard as every other student before or after us, yet we’ll never get to live out this monumental milestone in the same way they have/will.

DeAndre’ Robertson

Moving on to my spring break when I had planned to go to Miami, Fla., but my parents quickly canceled those plans in worries that I might catch the virus. This is where things started to worry me. My parents … If they catch this virus, they could potentially die.

There was a turn for the worst when I then got an email saying that school is closed for the rest of the semester and graduation is canceled.

I started to cry because I’ve been waiting for that celebration and that moment where I hear my family cheering my name while I walk across the stage. As a result of this pandemic, I, as well as many other seniors, were robbed of that moment. Soon after crying about this news, I began to feel angry because all the stress, hard work, and sleepless nights won’t be rewarded in a celebration that I’d been longing for.

It wasn’t until I received a text message from my family group chat that really set things off for me. It was a video of a basketball player named Donovan Mitchell who tested positive for the virus but had NO SYMPTOMS. Now this may seem great for him, but I was over the edge in full panic mode because of this. I began to think about the places I went to and regretting even stepping out of my house. This was hard news for everyone in the world to hear because it made us aware that you could potentially be a carrier of the virus and not even know it! This was scarier to me than seeing symptoms in other individuals because you never know who might have the virus. After a while, my family told me I couldn’t leave the house and I totally agree with them.

Rachel Tuck

A week in to this pandemic known as coronavirus, and I am already bored out of my mind. I know staying inside and social distancing is the key to staying healthy, which makes a bunch of sense, but personally I grew up staying active, outside, always having something to do. Having to stay put makes me feel lazy.

On a different note, what I have heard and read about the virus itself is frightening. The precautions that are taking place are valid, even though they are not fun. I have fears, I have worries, because I am afraid of the unknown. Not knowing what is going to happen, when, or how long we will be in this social distancing stage is scary. I’m sure things will be OK moving forward if we all take care of each other, from afar.

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