When my university first informed us that we couldn’t go back to campus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought it was going to be an extended spring break. Trust me — not a single college student was complaining about getting extra vacation time.
Then, however, our two-week break quickly transformed into full lockdown and remote learning. That’s when it started to hit some of us — COVID-19 wasn’t something to brush off. COVID-19 has certainly turned my whole spring semester of college upside down. No matter how unexpected it was, this pandemic is a huge part of why we have new normals.
Just like the rest of the world, college students had no idea that our lives were going to drastically change. Many of my friends have moved back home, lost our jobs, canceled trips, or have lost loved ones because of the coronavirus. I, just like millions of other students, had so many plans and hopes for the spring semester of college. I do feel that the coronavirus has robbed me of enjoying this time fully.
Oftentimes, we hear about how COVID-19 is affecting adults and the economy, but what about college students? It’s as though adults who aren’t in college forget about how drastic the shift is for us as young adults, just getting started in the world. I think COVID-19 has had one of the biggest effects on college students.
Furthermore, some college students consider their college campus to be home since they spend all of their time there. I definitely felt this way. I didn’t just live and go to class on campus — I worked there, volunteered there, went to the doctor there, had a social life there, and even went to the gym at my university.
Even with all these efforts, it’s still hard to accept that life as a student is now different. Check out the 10 struggles no one tells you about being in college during the coronavirus pandemic:
1. Physical graduation is canceled.
All the students graduating this year will not get to walk across the stage for their graduation. One of the highlights of being a student is the opportunity to walk across the stage in front of your friends and family to get your diploma. At that moment, all the hard work from the past four years instantly becomes worth it all. The class of 2020 will not have that opportunity, though. Most students are having virtual graduations while some don’t have one at all.
2. The class of 2020 is entering a crashing job market.
I can just imagine how stressful graduating into a normal job market feels like. However, doing so during a pandemic must be a whole other type of pressure. Some companies aren’t even hiring because they’re just trying to stay afloat.
Unless you’re working in an essential field or have great connections, it might be a while until you get a job. Whether or not you’re employed, you are still expected to pay your bills — and that is stressful.
3. Incoming first-years won’t have an in-person college experience.
As someone who has experienced two normal semesters in college and one during the pandemic, there’s no denying that it’s different. You won’t get a real feel of what it’s like to be a student at your school. Instead of exploring the campus, joining organizations, and attending events, you’ll be enjoying Zoom University from the comfort of your parents’ house in your PJs.
4. Some of us may struggle to succeed in online classes.
No matter how great of a lecturer or professor is or how easy of a course you’re taking, it’s not the same learning experience. In an online class, many students — myself included — find themselves doing the work just for completion purposes and not to learn the material. When class isn’t online, I noticed that students are more engaged and don’t have to worry about poor connections or Zoom bombing.
5. College resources aren’t as accessible.
Certain resources such as WiFi, free printing, pantries, and study areas are nonexistent for college students right now. Universities can not help us in all the areas they were previously able to because we are no longer on campus. Yes, resources like tutoring, peer mentoring, and career services can be available through virtual meetings, but most students won’t be taking advantage of them.
6. Financial disparities among college students make learning harder.
Not everyone comes from a home that has a great WiFi connection, an office, or even parents who have graduated college who can help them. These disadvantages will make it harder for college students from low-income families to succeed academically during this pandemic.
7. Our sleep schedules are messed up.
Most college students have moved back home because of the pandemic. But where home is can affect us. Sometimes home is 30 minutes away and other times it’s a whole different country. I think such a change can mess up our sleep schedules, especially if the time zone changes.
8. Many of our internships have been canceled.
All college students from freshmen to seniors have the possibility of taking part in internships. Taking one is seen as a big deal because it allows college students to gain experience before we have to enter a competitive job market.
Furthermore, internships help students figure out if their career choices are right for them. So losing an internship or finding out it has to be done remotely can be discouraging.
9. Most college students don’t get a stimulus check.
A good amount of college students won’t qualify for the stimulus check, even if they make less than $75,000 annually. We are considered to be too old too young, and we aren’t old enough if our parents claim us as dependents. This can drastically affect college students’ social lives as well as their learning processes.
10. We have no idea what the future holds for us.
The biggest struggle college students face during this pandemic is uncertainty. We have no idea when we will be able to return to campus.
Being a college student during a pandemic is a stressful time with many unknowns and uncertainties. These are just a few of the things that college students have to think about these days, so it’s important to remember that everybody is going through a difficult time right now. Here’s to hoping that we can all go back to a somewhat normal life soon!
Featured image via Pixabay