INTERVIEWS BY KAYLYN MATIS
This week, Faces of Mason gives a few graduating seniors the opportunity to tell their story about finishing their college career in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I’m a 33-year-old senior with a family at home. It’s definitely affecting me because I’m having to balance doing my classes online now with three kids home. It’s been rough. The hardest thing has been dinner. If that is the worst problem that we are having, we have it pretty good.
I started school in 2016. I feel like I am paying better attention now as an adult. The whole ability to be logged into my class makes it harder to pay attention. I am not getting the same experience I would on campus but [that’s] not necessarily a bad thing. I do wish I could finish my capstone in-person. It is completely different when it is a heavy science class or something like that. If I had to take my astronomy class online, I do not think I would have done too well with the labs online.
I mostly feel very lucky through all of this. I have not had any major medical happenings with my family.
I’m graduating in three years, rather than the typical four. I didn’t even realize that I would be graduating until last semester, so I had to fully take advantage of all that my sorority and the school has to offer.
I never went on a trip for spring break. I pay my own tuition in full each semester and so, this year, my boyfriend and I were going to go to Florida and, like, do the beach and Disney and all, but since both our parents are at risk we cancelled that.
I went to barely any of my sorority dances and I was extremely excited for both mine and my [boyfriend’s] to make up for that.
And, honestly, the worst thing for me is that I just started having health issues affecting my vision. I can barely look at my laptop and I was thanking myself for taking most of my credits in-person. Even typing this on my laptop a foot away is extremely painful, but I can’t go see a specialist because they are not taking appointments at this time. I honestly don’t know how I will be able to take 18 credits worth of classes online when writing this for five minutes has given me a big headache and made me nauseous. I didn’t have anything set in motion prior to break and so I doubt that without a doctor’s note I can do anything … I wonder how [Mason is] handling students that normally take their tests at the testing center.
I feel like I, more than most, lost many opportunities in this and, honestly, I’ve been blaming myself extremely since I chose this semester over winter. I didn’t take advantage of my last summer or spring break, I didn’t get to go to my sorority things. Seniors are not getting our ceremony or pictures that have always happened and I didn’t realize that the last time I would see my friends would actually be my last, since most are out of state.
I think I’ve really been jumping back and forth between emotions during this whole ordeal. I’m sad and upset that my senior year is ruined, that I spent my last day of school ever in the way that I did, that I didn’t really get to say goodbye to many of my friends, that I didn’t get afforded the same normal college experience like everyone else before me. I’ve witnessed so much in the past four years here at Mason — Trump becoming president, the women’s march, so much political upheaval and now a global pandemic.
I’m really nervous about how this is going to affect the job market for me — the economy crashing, nobody hiring, all of that. I’m terrified that I won’t be able to move out of my parents’ house, which is on the other side of the state from D.C. I feel like with the pandemic, my senior year, graduation, closure and even independence (living with my parents is not ideal) have all been snatched. But I’m also really taken aback at how this whole thing has even happened.
The idea of a virus taking the world by storm like this is actually really terrifying, and it’s been hard dealing with that anxiety. I’m also considering getting back on my ADHD [medication] after not taking them for four years, because online/virtual instruction is almost incompatible with the way that I currently deal with my ADHD. My room is not the same as a classroom environment and I can’t guarantee that my siblings won’t come bursting in the door during a test or lecture.
I also don’t know how I’m going to pay for an apartment when this all blows over. I work for a religious school, and it simply was canceled. I’m unemployed now. I understand the importance of our generation distancing themselves … I’m still going to do my part to act as a member of this society and socially distance. I know that Mason is trying to do all it can, what with balancing CDC regulations, insurance issues and angry patrons (me). I just wish we had more transparency and that Mason had simply made their choice about the semester becoming virtual way back when they extended spring break. I don’t have independent transportation, and bouncing back up and down between Southern Virginia and [Northern Virginia] is hard to schedule.
I just found out at least one internship I applied [to] for the summer has been canceled. I don’t know what’s happening next, honestly, but I feel like I’ve been robbed of a proper goodbye, as you’ve probably heard from others.
But it’s like everything [I have] worked towards all year is gone.
I’m on Mason’s Forensic’s team and our entire nationals season was basically canceled. We work for those nationals all year and even host one, but that got canceled too. So, I won’t get to see my friends from around the country again before I graduate. I’m also employed by the school, so I’m not making any money for the rest of the semester. Combine that with the grim summer prospects, [I don’t know] how I’m going to afford anything for fall. I was accepted into my dream grad school at Columbia, but with no way of paying for it and the s— economy we’re in right now, everything’s in the air.