Students React To Coronavirus, Cancellations, And Quarantine

Beatriz Correia

Tommy Clark, Staff Writer

Coronavirus has been nothing but overwhelming, stressful, and upsetting for many Americans over the last few weeks. The pandemic has had a major impact on the community at AIC as well. One minute we were all on spring break, and the next we are on worldwide lockdown.

Some students (like me) were lucky enough to get home for spring break.

But others did not make it home. Some students are still on campus.

Coronavirus is not a joke; it is not something to take lightly. The disease causes a respiratory illness like the flu. It has many of the same symptoms, which include coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing and in more severe cases. You can protect yourself by washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and avoiding close contact with people.

By now, everyone is very aware of the symptoms and what is needed to be done.

Emotionally, this virus has essentially ruined the last semester for seniors who are graduating. Students graduating this spring have worked hard for a full four years or more to get their degree, and now even the experience of walking across the stage has been taken away.

For many AIC athletes, this spring was the last semester to play the sport they love with a team—with a family—they created.

But whether you are a senior or a first-year, AIC students across the board had so many expectations to finish out their spring semester on a positive note. But not anymore.

Many students at American International College are from places around the world. We have international students from different parts of Europe, New Zealand, from the Pacific islands, Canada, and so many more amazing places.

Many AIC students will not be coming back for the fall semester next year, either because of graduation, transferring, or simply because students’ lives have been upended by this global pandemic. These students never got the chance to say goodbye to their friends, professors, coaches, mentors, staff members, co-workers, and anyone else that they cared about at AIC.

It might not seem like it matters so much now, but later these students may feel a loss.

Not being in school—having to live in quarantine—is hard enough. Most students are restricted from all social contact outside of social media. Doing class work at home is difficult to keep up with for some.

Not having a healthy routine or structured daily schedule is proving difficult for many. For many students who were living on campus, waking up, eating breakfast, attending class, going to work, grabbing lunch, heading back to class, going to practice, having dinner, and going to sleep provided a structured daily routine.

Now, if you can go to work, you don’t really know what day it is anymore. Some might feel lazy, confused, bored, lonely, trapped, slow, and more by their new schedules. There is not much escape while living in quarantine either. You are probably either on your phone, making Tik-Toks, binge watching TV, or just playing video games a majority of the time.

Day by day, living in quarantine is becoming more and more of a drag. This is due to the fact that the coronavirus is everywhere—on TV, social media, in stores—and don’t forget your parents are also constantly talking about it.

Washington state right now is like a ghost town. During a regular year, most of the time people in city areas are out and about and there is always traffic. However, there is no traffic or anybody on the roads right now. Stores only allow up to a hundred people in the store, and store clerks make you wait in a line outside. Parks, restaurants, barbers, salons, and more are closed.

With these new changes to our everyday routines come an opportunity for reflection; it makes you really think about your life in a new way. Because you never know what will happen, we really have to live every day to the fullest. Appreciate everyone in your life and tell them you love them.

Many have lost friends, family members, or someone they loved to this coronavirus. Currently, there have been 70,320 deaths in the US from this virus, and the number is only going to climb.

Please be safe, strong, and fight the urge to go out with friends or family. People who are fifty years of age or older and who have compromised immune systems are the most vulnerable to this virus.

I asked some people in Washington state how they feel about the coronavirus and the changes it has forced them to make in their lives.

AIC student Lui Sitama commented, “I live in Olympia, Washington. It’s great to be home with my family and all, but being with them for too long can be suffocating.” For Sitama, adjusting to a new routine is difficult, especially because he is used to a rigorous athletic schedule. “I miss just having a normal routine, because now I feel like I am getting out of shape and I really miss playing rugby. [I] keep wondering how graduation will be for me now in May.”

Since this interview, it has been announced that AIC’s graduation has been cancelled.

Kayla Clark, an AIC alum, is feeling thankful. “I am lucky enough to have a job right now,” Clark said. She added that she “really just want[s] to go out to a restaurant again. I do get scared of a chance that one of my family members [will] get sick. I just hope that everyone is staying clean and responsible.”

Kiernan Hunkin, a first-year AIC student, had mixed feelings about being quarantined. “Glad to be home and safe,” Hunkin said, “but really bummed about my first semester at AIC coming to an end like this. Only got one college tournament of sevens rugby.”

Hopefully, if everyone continues to do their part, many of us will be back at AIC in the fall.

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Podcast audio music credit: Luca Francini, “Vaporwave Aesthetic”