New Normal for College Students: Life Quarantined
By Sarah Barnes ~ Guest Writer
Across the United States, college students’ daily activities have changed dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most colleges around the world shut down on-campus classes and transitioned to being completely online in March, 2020.
Activities that should have taken place on campus in April and May such as finals, senior-week, and graduation have all been cancelled or postponed.
Survey of Our New Normal
On April 28th, 2020, I surveyed over 50 college students to discover any trends in the frequency of specific activities they are partaking in while quarantined.
The 53 students were surveyed in 10 states, majority residing on the east coast, specifically Virginia with 20 students surveyed.
Also, approximately 60% of the participants surveyed were female, which is an accurate representation of the male to female ratio at most liberal arts colleges.
Students from the University of Lynchburg had to find their new normal away from campus to finish out the spring semester.
New Normal Testimonials
Senior at the University of Lynchburg, Natalya Rodriquez said she “worked two jobs on campus this past year” and when campus closed down for the semester, her “only source of income disappeared.”
According to the survey, most college students are in the same boat as Rodriquez.
Laura Mason, a sophomore at the University of Lynchburg says “I’m coping with quarantine by hiking and doing DIY craft projects, including painting and building a display for my plants.”
Noah Winslow, senior at the University of Lynchburg, was forced to end his baseball season early due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the loss of his season, Noah also lost his means of exercise, so in quarantine he has had to get creative and find ways to exercise at home.
Winslow said, “for the past month and a half, I have been doing more cardio-based exercises, like running, biking and jump roping outside.”
This a trend similar to what the survey results showed.
Looking at the bigger picture, several activities seemed more prone to change, while others stayed the same.
According to the data below, the activities that showed the most change were working (less), and walking outside, Facetiming friends, and using social media (more).
Many students surveyed provided photographs they have taken while in quarantine.
There are several similar pictures, including people doing DIY/crafting projects, going on hikes with their family, and doing classwork with new classmates (their pets).
In the end, most college students’ lives have changed in one way or another.
While some are working less because they lost their on-campus jobs, others are working more hours as essential workers.
The survey showed that not everyone’s new normal is the same.
It is important to remember that the current new normal will not be what lives look like forever.