Covid-19 and the Effects on the Average College Student:
Starting at Robert Morris University was entirely new for me, new area, new people, and an ultimately different culture. I was scared to make the change leaving such a small town and everything I knew, to begin a new life somewhere else. The start of college was hard on me as I became extremely homesick and didn’t view things that optimistically. I almost ended up transferring back home to Clarion University but all too soon my perspective changed. I chose to become more involved on campus, put myself out there to make new friends, and remove some of the people who were influencing negative energy into my life. My entire perspective of RMU changed and this soon became a place that I loved. I’ve made friends I would have never imagined leaving and would stay close with for semesters to come. I’ve joined clubs and club sports that gave me a sense of pride for our campus. Life became something great and something I would have a very hard time letting go of. This all began to change once the breakout of Covid-19 began.
At the start of this semester things were normal, we had heard about coronavirus and hadn't thought much of it. My macroeconomics professor warned us it was going to become much worse, being that she is originally from Wuhan where the breakout began, however students blew it off as nothing. In the coming weeks as more became infected RMU decided to cancel all their study abroad trips. While I wasn’t affected from that my roommate on the other hand was. He was upset and worked collaboratively with other students and the leading professor to find an alternative trip, or go on a sense of hope that the breakout would end and they could still continue their trip. There was no chance, the breakout continued spreading to other areas and countries. Soon enough the sense of fear began growing in students, faculty, and members in the surrounding community that their normal lives were about to become much different. Word came that a couple schools surrounding us were looking into moving their classes online for a period of time. This sounded like a blessing at the time as we all had hoped RMU would move the same direction. No more 10 a.m’s? This is great! Life would be so much easier! This became a reality as schools officially had either closed or extended their spring breaks. We got the news that classes had been cancelled last Wednesday until finals week and we could all remain on campus. This was the best news I could have ever gotten being that me and all my friends could remain on campus and not be held to a strict schedule for classes! That called for celebration and really had brought me and my friends closer together. We even had taken our own mini “coronacation” to Ocean City Maryland and Washington D.C. We were about to have a great semester together until Monday the next week had come. We received an email stating we had to move out, and classes were cancelled for the entirety of the semester including finals week. This was devastating since I had finally gotten my own friend group that was slowly becoming family to me. I was about to lose my job, my friends, and furthermore become extremely infuriated with the interface of online classes. Once I had finished reading the email, my manager let me off the clock early and put me on a leave of absence. The tears soon came as I got back to Yorktown, realizing I needed to pack all of my stuff and get off campus sooner rather than later. The number rose of Covid-19 cases in Allegheny county which ultimately pushed the school board to make the drastic decision they had made. A couple get togethers, quick packing, lots of tears, and my freshman year was over. I would have never imagined my first year of college to happen this way, but the coronavirus had taken any aspect of happiness from me and any hope I had to thrive in the Pittsburgh area.
Alas, sitting at home without the people I’d surround myself with everyday feels different, and doesn’t feel very great. I don’t know when I might feel alright again, but life is about to become very different for a while back home as well. We can only hope the situation will soon contain itself, and may next semester go much better than this. I plan on returning to RMU next semester and am counting down the days until then. Two words are needed to finish this testimony and that is simply Colonial Pride, thank you for such a great year from all the people that made it worth it at RMU. And to every other college student suffering from the effects of Covid-19 we will get through this!
Written By: Percival Wiggin