COVID-19 is a global pandemic but it affects everyone on an individual level. The impact the virus has had on someone’s life may not be like anyone else’s. While there is not a single confirmed case of COVID-19 at EWU’s campus as of May 4, it still has shaped students’ lives by changing their housing, relationships, schedules, classes and more.
EWU had 12,326 students enrolled during fall 2019, according to the Student Enrollment and Demographics webpage by EWU’s Office of Institutional Research.
It’s likely that even with thousands of students, every EWU student’s quarantine story is different.
One of the challenges EWU students are facing is the transition to moving back in with their parents. Many students have established a new living situation for themselves separate from their families. This can be very difficult for people who have become used to their own personal living situations whether that be a dorm, house or apartment.
Some students have grown accustomed to learning in a particular environment. Many people were taken from their previous situations and are now being expected to learn in a new one.
“It’s hard to learn in a space that takes so much emotional energy to get by in,” said Bethany Phillips, an EWU senior.
Family dynamics may change from being quarantined. The term “cabin fever” refers to the symptoms of long periods of isolation. Many people experience cabin fever symptoms including irritability and stress while isolated, possibly resulting in relationships becoming strained. A more in-depth article about the effects of cabin fever can be found at theeasterner.org.
Crystal Hagar is a full-time student and single parent.
“I’m navigating through my daughter’s online homework with her,” said Hagar. “Which combined with cooking, cleaning, and other daily tasks takes up the majority of each day.”
Crystal is one of the millions of parents who are now having to transition to teaching their children.
“I stay up as late as physically possible to work on my own assignments,” said Hagar. “The hardest part for me has without a doubt been getting significantly less sleep. I can tell it has been affecting both my mental and physical health.”
Even with all of these challenges, Crystal has really enjoyed all the extra time she has with her daughter.
“What’s getting me through it is all is the extra snuggles, movie nights, laughs and copious amounts of caffeine,” said Hagar. “I know when life goes back to normal those are the things that will be missed, and I’ll find myself wishing for more time for them again.”
Trying to find positives through quarantine may seem out of reach, but some have found the extra time they get to spend with friends and family uplifting.
Chris Ward, an EWU senior, said he has gotten to spend more time talking to people, and probably gotten closer to them as a result.
Chris was already used to talking with his friends online, a skill many are now having to learn.
“Being introverted for the most part the quarantine hasn’t affected me too badly on the social side, ” said Ward. “I’m already used to most of my social interactions being over Discord voice chat.”
EWU as a community has not given up on continuing to try and connect with students.
On April 3rd, Student Activities, Involvement and Leadership (SAIL) launched the Virtual Events webpage at Virtual Events. This includes ways for students to be able to still interact with each other in a safe virtual space. Some of the events include baking contests and movie nights.
Quarantine may not be the ideal situation for many, but that doesn’t mean students should stop looking at the bright side. This can be a very emotionally draining time; remember to reach out to friends and family for support. Social distancing does not mean stop socializing. Continuing to build and grow relationships may be the best result of everyone’s newfound situation.