How College Students and Mercy Girls are Coping with COVID-19

How+College+Students+and+Mercy+Girls+are+Coping+with+COVID-19

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, school has moved online, and our normal lifestyles have changed dramatically. Anxiety has risen due to the uncertainty of the current situation, and boredom has filled the minds of all students. Despite these changes, students have become familiar with new hobbies and ways to cope during this time at home. In the past few weeks, college students from multiple universities and our own Mercy girls have told the Shield what they have done to adjust to online schooling and their daily lives changing to a “new normal” during the global crisis. These anonymous responses can be used by everyone so life at home can be more tolerable and constructive!

College Student Responses

College students, especially, are facing the challenges that COVID-19 has presented them with. Dorms are vacant, lecture halls and labs are rid of professors and students, friendly meet ups happen through Zoom, and clubs/meetings are happening through glass screens. However, they have quickly learned to adjust to the new challenge of experiencing college through technology.

University of Maryland, College Park

A sophomore at UMD said that she has been using her free time to “learn more about things” that she has always wanted to learn about but could not due to her busy schedule. Her new hobby has been playing the ukulele, which has become a popular pastime in the past months since social distancing began! Another UMD student, who is a current senior, has filled her days with baking and crafting. The future teacher also has been planning home activities for her students and ensuring resources are accessible to families in her class! Another senior from the University of Maryland has not noticed much of a change in her classes ; however, her internship has been affected due to distractions and not being able to work in her office. The senior also said that her club has needed to adjust. “We have a bunch of required events we’re supposed to do, and those requirements have been dropped, but we’re still trying to do stuff to keep members engaged,” the senior stated. Despite the changes, she said that the club has virtual guest speakers! Lastly, a senior said, “Pretty much the only way I feel sane is by going outside.” She then continued to say how fortunate she was to “be in an area where that’s possible and safe to do so with social distancing.” When she goes outside, she bikes a trail, which she recently found, and gets to see new areas of her neighborhood. “Outdoor activities keep me busy and make me feel much more at peace with all of this.”

Salisbury University

As a senior as Salisbury, this student believes that online class “has negatively impacted the way I learn, specifically because I am a visual learner who can retain information in a classroom better than being alone.” While not being in classes, she has found it especially difficult to maintain her daily routine due to “taking care of family matters while attending Zoom classes.” Despite the negatives about online classes, she has found downtime between her classes very beneficial so she can do her work. As a senior, she has also found networking for jobs difficult during this time due to cancelled events. However, she has found a clever way to prepare to find a job after the pandemic has finished by “improvising and connecting with others online.” Her hobbies in her downtime include watching movies with friends through Netflix Party, having fun craft nights through video chat, and playing her favorite multiplayer games!

Another student from SU, who is a sophomore, has been mainly doing her classes through Zoom. Other than the Zoom classes, she is also able to do her work through “online modules/assignments and sometimes with recorders, lectures, and quizzes.” Although not in class, many assignments have doubled since hands-on assignments for labs are no longer possible. Other than her classes, this student has been planning to redesign her room, “paint a lot more,” and find “little crafts” to do when she has free time!

Towson University

A current senior at Towson has also found classes to be somewhat difficult. “The adjustment to taking classes has not been simple or easy by any means,” said the senior. By using only online resources resources, he said it has lessened the “student-student interaction” which has made it impossible to receive opinions about the material. Since this student is a visual learner, he has found it hard to understand certain information. By asking questions in class, he was able to learn more “efficiently through teacher-student interactions.” When he does not have his classes and his classwork, the senior enjoys cooking, gaming on his self-built computer, and playing games with his family!

In this time of difficulty, it is important to hear from others about their experiences with this new way of life. Stay strong college students! You will be back on campus in no time!

Mercy High School Responses

With the fast transition from physical classes to online learning, the lives of students at Mercy have been completely changed. Through an online survey, the whole student body was able to tell the Shield about how their lives have changed due to the coronavirus pandemic. With the publication of these responses, all students will be able to take the advice of other students and try different things during this time!

Since there was a great multitude of responses, they will be summarized into a list below!

1.) What hobbies are you able to participate in now that we are at home for school?

Exercising (walking/running/sports): 72%

Reading and Writing: 42%

Baking/Cooking:60%

Playing games (Video, board, etc.): 62%

Watching shows (Netflix, Hulu, TV, etc.): 85%

Other students have also been coloring, crafting, making jewelry, sleeping, listening to music, and FaceTiming friends.

2.) Have you been able to continue clubs and extracurriculars during online learning? If yes, how has technology affected the way you participate in them? (Please specify your club!)

Due to the closure of schools, many of the clubs and sports offered at Mercy have been unable to physically meet. Students expressed that clubs and extracurriculars have been more difficult due to this. One Mercy girl said,  “. . I feel that it is harder for people to participate and suggest ideas via video chat.” However, despite being out of school, sports and clubs have found ways to communicate and connect. Multiple students said that they have been able to discuss with Steering Committee about class events. Others also said that sports teams have been doing Zoom and Teams calls, including the Varsity Field Hockey and Lacrosse teams! The Arts Department has also been making moves by meeting with Madrigals and the Footlighters.

3.)Participating in your favorite hobbies or pastimes, are you able to be more relaxed, especially during this time of uncertainty?

Yes: 72%

No: 28%

4.) How has the current global issue adjusted your lifestyle and hobbies on a daily basis?

Many students explained that they faced many changes within their daily lives. “I completely changed my schedule from things like when I go to sleep, when I wake up, when I exercise, and when I get school work done. Nothing is the same as it was two months ago,” said one student. Others said that they no longer can “hang out with friends,” and they have been more “connected to [their] devices.” In other households, however, some students have expressed that life has not changed much. They said they have mainly been “staying inside” or their days “have not changed at all.” Whether students’ daily lives have changed or not, responses showed that students feel more relaxed due to “the copious amounts of free time” they now have.

5.) Has the COVID-19 Pandemic changed the way you will study and do class work in the future?

With the new way of learning, it has opened the eyes of many in terms of future study habits. Students admitted to feeling more “focused with school” and managing time better. Another Mercy girl even said that she can finish her homework faster! Other girls stated that it also helped them develop new study habits and “strategies” for the future.

6.) What types of activities have you done to relieve anxiety that you have about COVID-19? Have they been successful in helping with anxiety?

With the new pandemic, came a swarm of anxiety due in part to the uncertain future and the safety of our loved ones and ourselves. To relieve that anxiety, students expressed that reading, sleeping, exercise, and even yoga have assisted in calming them. Others expressed that staying on a routine kept them relaxed during this time. “Waking up and working out at the same time everyday,” said by one student, has helped with their anxiety. Others have also spent time with family and pets by playing games and walking their dogs on a daily basis.

7.) What suggestions do you have to help others manage their schoolwork during online learning?

Although many of us have been able to adjust to the new lifestyle, others need guidance in this time especially with school. Students all over the Mercy community shared their suggestions:

  • Don’t be lazy and get your work done.
  • Take breaks.
  • Make a schedule to manage your time.
  • Stay motivated!
  • Don’t procrastinate.
  • Do your work or classes in a comfortable environment (ex: outside).
  • When an assignment is posted, do it right away.
  • Lastly, “Just relax and realize that we cannot control the future.”

With the coronavirus striking the world, no one may know what the future holds for our lives. However, in this time, everyone must come together to support one another and stay strong during this time. By supporting each other, we can come together into one loving community: The Mercy community.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the making of this article. Special thanks to those who responded to the survey and to the college students who took their time to write about their college experience during this pandemic.