Students journal their COVID-19 experience

Grand+Valley+students+record+their+experiences+during+the+COVID-19+pandemic.+GVL+%5C+Alexis+Velazquez

Grand Valley students record their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. GVL \ Alexis Velazquez

Autumn Pitchure, Staff Reporter

Feeling Betrayed (Hannah Swain, Senior)

After working so hard and diligently for four years in college, it feels as though I’m being betrayed by the coronavirus. My hard work feels insignificant, as I’m unable to do some of the things that this hard work was supposed to be paid off for. Although I’m grateful to have so many people care about my safety that they’ve taken to ensure I’m okay. But to be honest, this just outright sucks.

My plans after college, my final semester at GVSU, my employment, my sanity: they’ve all been taken. But I’m trying to look at this in a positive light. Yes everything is shutting down, I’ve had to file for unemployment for my first time and I’m not sure when life will return to normal. Or if it will even return to normal. All I can do right now is try to reflect what time is giving and teaching me, rather than what I’m missing out because of COVID-19.

For example, I’m currently curled up on a couch at my parents’ cabin, up north, with my whole family to celebrate my little brother turning 16. No, we can’t go out to dinner or immediately get his license. But, instead, we’re taking this time to be with one another. Music is blaring through our surround sound throughout the living room. My brother and his friends are playing video games and my parents are drinking coffee while starting up our four wheelers and dirt bikes. Without the spread of the coronavirus, I wouldn’t be here right now. I actually would be in New Orleans at the BUKU Music Festival. As it has rescheduled, I am instead getting to play Yahtzee and do puzzles with people I love most.

So yes, this is a very scary and chaotic time to be alive. But in order to survive all of this, we have to just get through it. We have to be there for one another and reach out to the people we love. There is nothing else to do but reconnect. To rekindle, to review, to make sure what we do, do, during this time is very significant. It’s loving, it’s productive, it’s time to dedicate to the passion you may have felt too busy to work on.

Finish that book, learn to knit, practice your instrument, binge watch a documentary, research something you want to know about. Be the person you were craving to be when you were “too busy.”

 

An Abrupt Ending to Freshman Year (Sean Deward, Freshman)

I closed the last chapter in my freshman year of college, but 44 pages short.

It’s the 19th, just a couple days ago Mom and Dad celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary and your gift to them was telling them you were going to be home for the rest of the year. Thankfully they’re doing great. The trick right now is who’s gonna see Lizzie, since she’s only about 2 1/2 at this time. Nana and Terry are a little worried about watching her since they are a bit older. Thankfully me, Mom and Pop are still able to help. If only they weren’t moving away so far, but at least it’s only an hour. I just hope the school system is good where they’re going, and not just because Dan’s making Erika happy since the house looks like a Victorian mini-mansion, but I digress.

Everyone’s healthy right now, but we’re being cautious for the most part. Mom’s still bummed out about their trip, but Dad’s being his optimistic self and balancing it out. I’ll be honest, I’m worried. Not for myself — I’ve never been. More so everyone else. I could get it and not even know that I’m being a risk to my family’s lives. Would it be my fault? Not necessarily, but could I prevent it? That’s what I couldn’t live with if something happened.

It’s so weird how the whole world can change in a couple of days! It’s almost funny in an ironic way because right before 2020 started, I saw the most optimism in the people I know than ever before, but it was soon replaced with the same “Well if I die, I die” attitude I see in a lot of people after being scared of a possible WW3, the Australian wildfires, and so many other things, it’s just wild how right after all that we get this virus crisis spurring the world. Then again, this kind of things makes the brightest senses of humor shine. During Saint Patty’s, there was a man in Ohio doing a one-man parade for the holiday with a sign on his back saying “Stay 6 feet away,” while also saying he was “Protesting the coronavirus.” Hahaha! I hope you still have that video we got of it!

I just sent out a long story on Snapchat reaching out to anybody with a personal story to use in that documentary that hopefully went well, so future Sean, if you see the snap story, you’ll also see the old freshman dorm that you had to leave yesterday. I hope you still remember that place. I hope you still remember that feeling when you locked the door for the last time and had that vivid memory pop up when you got it. All the possibilities, the uncertainties, started and ended with that key. We did run into that brown-haired girl we saw all the time right before we left and asked her out, so the timing could never have better am I right? Haha!

 

Adaptation (Leah Kerr, Junior)

It’s been four days since my last entry — seems much longer.

Being isolated indoors can make days seem like weeks and weeks seem like months. I miss my routine of waking up and going to class or waking up and going to work. I thrive off of routines and structure; without both, I feel like I could lose my mind.

Although, I have been going to work. However, since I work at Outback, things have changed… drastically. We are only operating with takeout orders as well as delivery. The restaurant doesn’t even seem like a restaurant anymore. All the chairs are stacked on the tables, the bar is barren and dry, and the process of getting customers their food seems to be a bit more depressing. My coworkers are trying their best to adapt to the quietness of the store; they keep inviting me to group calls over Facebook. (They are quite entertaining, I will give them that).

The pay from working in to-go or delivery is not the same as working as a waitress, however. The tips are minimal and are split between 5-10 people who are working together to get orders out. Last time I worked, I made $30 in tips and quite frankly, $30 is not enough to pay bills. I have been trying to file for unemployment but the website is so slow that I can’t get past the page to create an account. I have been consistently trying for two days now… nothing. A friend of mine told me to log on around 2 a.m. to avoid people manically refreshing the webpage, thus, slowing down the server.

Overall, I am in the process of adapting. It’s a hard one but very do-able. I have been trying to convert my anxiety into motivation to work harder in my online courses. It’s all a process… a tedious one at that.