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Navigating a pandemic – ‘go with the flow’

  • Thursday, November 5, 2020
    Danielle Edwards

    By Danielle Edwards 

    Who would have thought at the beginning of 2020 our world would change so drastically? 

    Over the past seven months, the unimaginable has happened.  Over 233,000 people have lost their lives due to the coronavirus, social distancing has become an everyday phrase and face masks have become the new trend.  Colleges, universities and public schools nationwide have all shifted to a new way of learning. 

    As a high school graduate and first-year college student, navigating the 2020 pandemic has created many unprecedented challenges. 

    Gov. Larry Hogan made the announcement March 12, 2020 that schools would be closed for two weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak.  Initially, I was elated about the anticipated time off.  My feelings, however, soon turned into frustration and concern about the final months of my senior year in high school and the start of my college career. 

    The most disappointing things were accepting the fact there would be no senior prom - something I looked forward to since 6th grade - and having to participate in a modified graduation.  Knowing I could miss out on my family and friends cheering me on as I walked across the stage was a difficult reality to process. 

    As a first-year college student, I never imagined my freshman year occurring during a pandemic.  I am constantly reminded to wear my mask, keep my hands sanitized and maintain a safe distance from others. 

    Stickers and signs are constant reminders of Center for Disease Control guidelines, and eating in the cafeteria is not permitted; only take-out is allowed. 

    These restrictions have prevented the opportunity to interact socially with my peers.  This is extremely challenging for me because interacting and collaborating with others is a major part of college life. 

    Campus (social) activities have also been limited, and classes are mostly virtual.  Virtual learning has become a task I must navigate daily. One task in online learning requires me to be disciplined, a trait I am working on daily to master. 

    Although there are challenges associated with attending school during a pandemic, they have taught me to adapt to change by being creative and innovative.  Through Zoom, I've learned how to connect with professors and classmates and become proficient.  I've also learned how to work out of my comfort zone by using the education video platform Flipgrid to respond to classmates' posts.  This has allowed me to become more comfortable talking about myself.  

    If nothing else, the pandemic has taught me to accept things that I cannot control.  Therefore, I have learned to go with the flow.

    Danielle Edwards of Salisbury is a freshman majoring in sociology/social work and is a member of the Richard A. Henson Honors Program.  She crafted this essay as an assignment for an English honors class.