As a college student, there is a seemingly constant air of uncertainty surrounding your life. Whether it’s in terms of a friend following through with a plan, a teacher’s unpredictable grading scale or just the thought of what your future will look like, us college students always have to be on their toes so that the unknown doesn’t completely catch us off guard as we attempt to navigate the “adulti-ish” world.
Now, with the current COVID-19 crisis, that air of uncertainty is amplified to the point where even the one thing we never had to question would take place–– class–– is uncertain.
Needless to say, this pandemic has altered the lives of everyone in the world to varying degrees. With new information everyday that goes from promising to terrifying in the change of a channel, the standing of everyone’s future plans is unclear. What makes the health scares all the more terrifying is the fact that this crisis can seriously affect the financial stability of the majority of our country.
When I received the first email over Spring Break that my classes were going online “until further notice,” my immediate instinct was to just stay in my dorm until things calmed down. Two days after that, we were informed that we had until March 29th to move everything out of our dorms. The sudden hysteria that this news brought on everyone turned into a hysteria of figuring out what steps to take that didn’t completely break the bank.
I was fortunate that I was still in my dorm and didn’t have to buy a ticket back to school, then all the way back home, to pack up and leave. I was also lucky that my family had the ability to pay for a ticket back home on such short notice–– that can’t be said for so many college students both at my school and all over the country.
Although arriving back home did make me feel a little less discombobulated, that air of uncertainty did not go away. For college students, even when school ends, there is the stress of needing to spend your summer building your resume and preparing yourself for life in the real real world. But the crisis has now altered the plans so many of us had. My original plan of taking summer courses and working at The Corp became unreasonable–– how would I remain financially stable if The Corp–– a college student-run business that profits from the foot traffic of Georgetown students and professors–– was closed along with in-person classes?
The ensuing days resulted in my panic-applying to internships in DC. Yet, even with applications currently still open, the likelihood that those internships will take place decreases with each day that the virus intensifies. What makes matters worse is the chance of getting a job even in my hometown seems to be equally doubtful.
The next few weeks are crucial for so many reasons–– the most important being the containing of the virus. Time will be spent trying to stay in the present and avoiding the tendency of mass hysteria, but time must also be spent for college students like myself to figure out how to adapt our plans for the future months in a time when there is no such thing as future guarantees.
Lily Westover is in the Class of 2022 at Georgetown University.