The pandemic has been a topic in the news for a year now. Students have had to shift their entire lives around. Many students are struggling with questions on whether or not to go virtual, to “Zoom in” for classes, to commute to campus, or to try and live on campus. I am one of the students that made the decision to go virtual for my spring semester.
To start, I would like to include part of the decision process. Many students go about this process and it looks different for every student. Mine went like this: Would it be worth it to be stuck in the dorm all semester and feel like I can’t travel between home and school? I’m nervous about separation to begin with, but even more than that, I have a fiancé at home who I enjoy seeing on a semi-regular basis. Pre-COVID, I was traveling home every weekend or so to visit.
Next question: How would this affect my internship? My WIFI wasn’t the greatest, and the printer in my dorm was temperamental, so this would be a struggle if I needed to do something for my virtual internship and couldn’t.
How will this affect work study? I’m a work study eligible student, but I would need to find a position able to accommodate whichever choice I make. I would have to be selective and hope that they can work with my insane schedule.
How would this affect my mental health? I had suffered some losses over the past year, and really needed a support team. I don’t always love hugs, but when I am in distress I definitely need a hug. Being at school would limit my support team severely.
Do I want to make that commute and get tested that often? Leaving campus every weekend, or every other weekend, would require testing upon return. I have been fortunate enough to not require testing, as I have managed to not come into contact with anyone testing positive. At the time, I still only knew of the nose swab and was not particularly fond of that method of testing.
What about work? I had a part time job in the Chambersburg area before COVID hit that has since been shut down. I’m currently not sure if it is open. However, back home, I have a part time job at a grocery store, making me an essential worker and guaranteed a secure job. Being a senior, I have to really put my nose to the grind and get what I can before I have to start considering loan payments. I am also looking to move out after graduation (that’s a whole other topic we will not dive into) which means saving is key right now. Income is important.
All of these questions and more went into my decision making process. I ultimately decided to remain at home and go virtual. It is not a walk in the park. Being virtual by choice requires self-control, very good time management skills, and lots of caffeinated beverages. I stay up late and wake up early. I schedule things down to the minute. I eat lunch during class because I don’t have time anywhere else in my day. I am doing everything through Zoom and Canvas. If I am not at work staring at a screen, I am at home staring at a screen.
Every now and then, I also get to go play my Nintendo Switch Lite that I got for Christmas. I get to go visit my fiancé and play with his cat. I can take a long shower and put some nice smelling stuff in my hair. I get to wear fuzzy pajamas to class and nobody will know. I can get seeds for my spring garden. I can have a spring garden! There are upsides and downsides to all of this. The best thing is your thing. Do what is best for you, and watch yourself prosper.