COVID Continues, Colleges Close, and Students Stress

by Anthony Vassallo

(Image via Western Government University)

Countless college students’ plans have been derailed, as schools opted for virtual learning during the pandemic. The once-in-a-lifetime experience that educators describe to students their whole lives, has become eccentric in almost every way.

Attending school from home has proven to be difficult for many students. Most parents work, and some students have the responsibility of taking care of younger siblings.

Omar Rahim, 18, relaxing in his back yard in Deer Park, New York, Suffolk County, Long Island (Photo by Omar Rahim)

“It’s been kind of difficult, I have to watch my brother at the same time as I’m taking classes, because my parents have work,” said Omar Rahim, a government major at Georgetown University, currently a resident in Deer Park, New York. Rahim’s 17-year-old brother, Ali Rahim has autism, a disability that keeps Rahim on his toes at all times. The pressure of watching his brother while attending class at the same time can often be overbearing for Rahim.

Rahim found out about the lack of dorming at Georgetown just weeks before he was scheduled to leave, “I felt very angry, and confused because I didn’t know what was going to happen in the next few months.” Overcoming these emotions hasn’t been easy, “This wouldn’t have happened if I was at Georgetown.” This phrase lingers in Rahim’s head often, as the problems stack up throughout the semester.

Frustration has begun to build up, “It’s (virtual learning) an annoyance that continuously goes on,” Rahim expressed.

COVID-19 has disrupted the balance of production, leisure, and exercise, preventing students from getting into a consistent schedule. “I was going to the gym, I was productive, I was motivated,” said Saiansh Chaddha, a Deer Park, New York resident as well, is an undecided sophomore on the pre-med track at Stony Brook University.

Living at home and attending classes online has decreased motivation in a number of students all over the country. “I was just stuck with work piling up, and the complete lack of motivation to do any of it,” said Mohammad Raiyan, an undecided sophomore at NYU, remembers the beginning of his virtual learning experience last March.

The lack of a classroom has taken away the enjoyment of school. This year hasn’t been much different from last March for Raiyan either, describing Zoom classes as, “Really not a great time.” Sleeping in his own bedroom, with constant distractions and interruptions from friends, Raiyan has developed poor sleeping habits while living at home in Deer Park, New York.

Raiyan shared a story about a struggle he faced during this online semester. “I had a bio lab - and it was at eleven, I only slept four hours before going to bio,” he said. “I opened the zoom lecture, and just slept through it.”

Opposed to last year, Chaddha isn’t able to reach out for assistance from friends on campus. “I had a lot of friends that were smart in school, and they actually helped me with my classes if I needed help” said Chaddha.

The lack of collaboration among students this year can be detrimental to creative thinking, and personal development.

Sabrina Gates wrote in an NEA (National Education Association) article that, “Collaborative learning has been shown to not only develop higher-level thinking skills in students but boost their confidence and self-esteem as well.”

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