How community college students are coping with coronavirus changes


Tess Peterson, Assistant Editor

As these weeks of coronavirus social distancing continue many college students are dealing with anxiety, fear and uncertainty.  “I’m taking my classes online, getting my degree on my own time” (from the education connection theme song) is what seemed to be the mantra of college students on social media these days (especially on TikTok).

Most universities and colleges closed campuses due to the Coronavirus Global Pandemic, along with state and local social distancing orders. Students were sent home from their respective college campuses.

However, commuter colleges and community colleges, like Lincoln Land may have a different story to tell.  I recently caught up with three LLCC students (via email, of course, #stayhome) to see how they were coping and adjusting to the new changes.

As a response to the question do you feel anxious about the future and how things are changing?  All three students responses varied, but all did essentially reply with yes.  This was not a big surprise considering we are getting used to a period of very high anxiety and stress with all of the uncertainty we are all facing, young or old.

Maggie Jacobs a nursing student, has more on her mind than most. “I do feel anxious about the future. Not only about the virus and its effect on our nation’s economy, but about its effect on the well-being of our individual communities. People are panicking and with panic comes mayhem, I just worry about a rise in crime and violence. Especially for those people who live in abusive homes, they have nowhere to go when tension is high.”

Julia Kinezler, a freshman, Economics major, and law school hopeful, says she has been a little anxious too, but to relieve the stress she has been doing yoga and meditations every day as well as going on walks with her brother and dog and leasing a family game night.

Justin Burge feels anxious about the future too.  Justin has good reason to feel anxious since most of his classes require lab time, as a biology major.  “I am quite anxious about these next few months. I have always preferred face-to-face classes and that is how I learn best. I have always learned best in a classroom setting. However, now that things have transitioned to be completely online, I am nervous.

He continues, “I feel as if I don’t have the guidance and help that I do if I were on campus. I just feel that these courses are going to be more difficult, and that is what makes me nervous. As a Biology major, we have several classes that require labs. Now that we don’t have physical labs, things are challenging. We still have labs to do, and we still have lab quizzes that we have to do. However, we don’t actually have those in-person labs as of right now, so I’m a little worried. “. Burge shared that spending time with friends and playing with his new puppy help him relive the stress.

I also asked the students how their everyday lives have changed in the past days and weeks.

“Everyday life for me has changed quite a bit. Right before the start of spring break my uncle developed some health issues that hindered his ability to work, he does maintenance and remodeling for local families and realtors. Since we don’t have face time face class anymore, I’ve been working with him during the week and doing a lot of my school work in the afternoons.”

“I’ve been able to get quite a few things done around the house that I was putting off due to lack of time. The last time I worked at the hospital was the Friday before break, I’m only required to work 16 hours a month because I’m a student and with everything that’s been happening, I took advantage of that. I will be working there a lot more though, now that I feel more organized and prepared for my classes being online.” Jacobs says.

Kinelzer added that everyday routine has changed a lot too.  “My family and I are taking social distancing very seriously to protect others and ourselves. Over spring break I had traveled to a few different states prior to the stay-at-home order. As soon as I got home I began “self-quarantining” just to be safe so I have not left my house unless it has been to go take my dog on a walk. This has definitely been a change. I am not sure I have ever been at home this much but it is worth it if it helps others!”

Burge also agrees and says “For some reason, I feel like I’m still on break. I am quite aware that I am not on break. However, since I go to the main campus for classes, I feel like I am not in class. I work at Memorial Medical Center here in town, so things have changed in that setting as well. I haven’t been going to as many places as I normally do. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I feel like my life has changed completely changed.”

So even though we are all going through a time uncertainty and anxiety, it good to see and hear stories like these show light at the end of a the tunnel.  As we learn to live in this new normal period it is a great time to reflect on, and give thanks to, the many healthcare providers and staff that are working tirelessly to care for and comfort those who are suffering from the corona-virus.