One Thursday evening while sitting at work, my throat began to tingle and suddenly I began to cough. Alarmed, I tried to suppress my cough being that the woman I was working with had been coughing the day before as well. The irony of the moment was admirable as I had just told my mother on a phone call the day before that I would not be going to work if the woman I was working with had COVID. For, I valued my health and the little school time I had left in college to catch up on homework. I absolutely could not afford to be absent from school again. I had already lost enough time having to quarantine earlier on in the semester.
Saturday, November 24th, more symptoms began to arise. From feeling drainage in my nasal cavity and the back of my throat to intense headaches, I was convinced I had a sinus infection. Soon, more pains began to come as everything from the waist down produced excruciating pains, alerting me that something more was wrong. Perhaps, it was the flu. However, the thought was ruled out and my dreaded COVID theory was brought to the forefront when at last that night, I lost my sense of taste and smell.
The following Monday, I decided I would get tested. From trying sinus medicine to trying to taste or smell any and everything, I was completely hopeless. However, I still held on to the hope that I had a sinus infection, which was not uncommon for me to have at all. Nevertheless, I decided to get tested after my afternoon class and was hit the next night with the dreaded results. My results came back positive, which meant almost two weeks of school missed and a stay in an isolated room. COVID had officially wrecked my semester and crushed my hopes of finishing strong. Although that was not the end of the problems it had caused, I had to adopt the perspective that I certainly was not the only student experiencing this.
For many students such as myself, COVID has created many issues in our lives regarding our health or the health of family members, causing our college studies to be greatly afflicted. For instance, I am a second-year college student at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and even at the beginning of this school term in August, COVID began to affect my studies. For, I had to spend my first couple of weeks of school in quarantine due to a roommate having to test for COVID.
For many, missing the first two weeks would not be a big deal. For students such as me, however, classes such as Statistics are ones not to be missed when you do not completely understand lecture notes taken by another student. So, one would look with great optimism that that their first quarantine would be the last, small storm involving COVID. However, this optimism proves to be quite unrealistic as COVID has continued to run rampant and cause problems not only in the United States, but all over the world as well.
For some students, professors do not cut any slack as if the students can control the predicaments they would be put in due to COVID. For others, the professors are a bit more understanding as the professors themselves have had to deal with uncomfortable and inconvenient teaching circumstances. For instance, my journalism professor, Dr. Thomas Grant at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College said, “For this entire semester, I have been teaching half a class.” He furthermore went on to mention how each class session, he was not teaching the same half.
Conditions such as having to teach a different half of students each class session can prove tiresome when you must stay on track with the course schedule and material to be taught. Furthermore, it can be tiresome when you also must be cautious regarding your own health and not missing any class sessions. Yet, even with a common factor of COVID altering the teacher-student classroom dynamic, there still seems to be a great discord.
Such a discord has caused many students to have the worst semester of their lives. For some, they knew at midterms that their GPA would decrease dramatically. While for other students, they have even contemplated coming back to college next semester. When talking to a student who also works in the admissions office at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College mentioned how this semester has been the worst academic semester among students that there ever has been. Furthermore, when having a talk with the Dean of Students, Bernice Hughs, said, “I do get a lot of students saying that they’re going to have to really work hard to dig themselves out of this.” With this statement alone, one can size up the magnitude of COVID’s impact on the fall semester.
In looking at all of these occurrences, I have often asked myself and heard others ask if things will ever get back to “normal”. In my opinion, the answer is in the events that have already happened this year. From me not only contracting COVID but having to stay in the hospital due to having a blood clot in both lungs to my fellow associates also having battles with COVID, the answer is sure to be “not at all.”
Nevertheless, one can only put a foot forward and look ahead in expectation of a new, promising era to arise out of this pandemic.