The Pandemic changed the world in more ways than we thought was possible. It affected everyone differently, and made most people recognize the things that they took for granted. The experience of learning in a classroom environment was never something I thought I’d miss until it was temporarily taken away from me and education was shifted to remote learning.
I’ll never forget how I felt after I read the email from Farmingdale stating that the campus would be closed in wake of the virus. Spring 2020 was my first semester at Farmingdale after transferring from Suffolk Community College, and I felt that I was just starting to get adjusted to life at a different school. I was so shocked to see that the school decided to make such a drastic decision right before Spring Break when, at the time, Covid didn’t appear to be a huge problem in New York.
It was apparent that Farmingdale made the right choice when, days later, the whole state went into lockdown and Covid cases in New York rose dramatically to the point where hospitals were at capacity. It was a scary situation, to put it mildly. The last thing I wanted to think about was my education when a worldwide pandemic was taking the lives of hundreds of people each day.
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When the time finally came to start focusing on school after it was obvious that the country needed a lot more than a two-week shutdown to stop the spread, it was extremely difficult for me to shift to online learning. I felt that I wasn’t gaining anything from any of my classes which caused me to lose motivation to apply myself. I don’t blame Farmingdale or my professors for this since everyone was thrown into an extreme situation without any preparation.
The lack of socialization with my classmates paired with the severity of the Pandemic took a toll on me mentally. I was extremely bored of being stuck at home all the time and everyday started to feel the same. It wasn’t easy. I feel like everyone yearns for the chance to stay home and not worry about going to school or work, but once the opportunity actually presents itself, as it did two years ago, people quickly realize that having all the free time in the world isn’t what it’s made to be.
I was very fortunate to be home with my loving family, but I still missed my friends and the option to leave my house to go somewhere other than work. Going to work was really the only thing that felt normal in my life, since my job was considered essential and we continued with business as usual. Any opportunity I had to see my friends was a tremendous breath of fresh air, but every time I did so, I felt as though I was putting myself and my family at risk. Once Covid started hitting my friend group, it got to a point where going out just wasn’t worth it for me anymore.
With nothing to do but spend time with myself, the opportunity was present for me to really reflect on who I was and what was important to me. I knew I wanted to finish school, but I also had no interest in going back until classes would be held in person again. This decision really allowed me to focus on myself since I didn’t enroll for the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters.
Now a little over two years since the start of the Pandemic with vaccinations in full effect, I still carry the lessons I learned throughout the Pandemic as life feels “normal” again. Taking a year off from school in the midst of the Pandemic was really refreshing for me and allowed me to approach college with a different mindset than I had prior to the Covid outbreak. Even though the grind of a college semester is just as difficult as it was before the Pandemic, little things such as socializing with classmates or hanging out on campus won’t be taken for granted again.
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