Image via Naomi Boyer
I am a full- time college student and I work two jobs, a full-time position at Spectrum and a part time position at The University of Akron’s radio station, WZIP.
I see myself as a strong student and a hard worker. Supporting myself through school hasn’t been easy, but I have always been confident that I will succeed.
COVID-19 has definitely rocked my faith.
During the pandemic, I chose to take a work from home position. I figured it would be best for me, so I could be less at risk for catching COVID or spreading it.
The majority of my classes had also been pushed to an online platform, so I was suddenly spending more time at home and alone than ever before.
At first, I did a lot better with this transition than I expected.
Fall semester 2020, I did exceptionally well in work and school. My metrics at work were great, and my grades were the best they have ever been. I passed through that semester with flying colors.
Over the winter break, transitioning into the 2021 spring semester, I started to not really feel like my normal self.
As an extrovert, I crave social interaction, I love meeting new people and seeing friendly faces, but it was hard to get the same fulfillment. The holidays weren’t as happy as they usually were, since gatherings weren’t allowed.
I didn’t get to see my family or friends that often, and when I did everyone wore masks, so I felt as if I couldn’t really enjoy them in the same way. After the holidays, it started to feel a lot harder to deal with the reality of the pandemic
As I entered the 2021 spring semester, I had high expectations since the previous semester I had set the bar so high.
The first few weeks were a little rocky, then I started losing track of time. It’s hard to keep track of time when you spend all of your time in the same room. I have my work computer set up in my living room, and I take my classes and do most of my homework in my living room as well.
Spending so much time in one small room started to make me very depressed.
I am not the sort of person to quit, so I tried not to let depression get in my way and to look to the positive side of things as much as possible.
I used some different strategies to address my mental health including working out at the gym. Gym time really helped me with my stress levels and allowed me to spend a little time outside of my house, which helped me keep my depression under control.
Then, things took another turn and slipped into a downward spiral.
In trying to get in the spring break mood and keep my depression at bay, I decided to pick back up on an old hobby. I bought a skateboard, thinking that more exercise and a fun activity would help with my deep feelings of isolation.
Unfortunately, the older you get the weaker your bones get. I fell off my skateboard, broke my elbow, and fractured another bone in three places. I was completely devastated.
You don’t realize how much you use your arm until you can’t use it anymore. The accident completely stripped me of my independence and prevented me from one of the only things keeping me sane which was going to the gym. I would also need a surgery to repair the injury.
This put me in a really dark place. I have never felt more isolated in my life, and with a broken arm, I could hardly even take care of myself.
I soon began to fall behind on schoolwork, and my work performance also started to take a hit.
It is extremely hard to concentrate on work and school when you don’t even want to get out of bed in the morning.
I had never felt more isolated and alone in my life.
The beautiful thing about life, though, is that people always make a way.
Thankfully, by reaching out to others, I have found support to help me through this latest bump in the road. My family and friends have stepped in to keep my spirits high.
I’m so grateful that my professors and supervisors have been extremely understanding and forgiving as I work through this.
As vaccines have become more readily available, I’ve been starting to look more forward to seeing classmates, professors and colleagues in person. It’s weird to think about what we used to consider “normal life,” but it is giving me hope daily.
I may have taken it for granted before COVID-19, but I will never take it for granted again.
I think we can all relate to feeling some sort of isolation due to covid. As humans, we need other human interaction and seeing faces through screens and behin.d masks just isn’t the same as in person and being able to see a pearly white smile.
I just want all my fellow Zips to know that it’s ok if you don’t feel ok. Many of us don’t feel ok right now.
Struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t mean that you aren’t a good student or a good person. Other good students are struggling too. Being isolated, you may not realize it, but so many of us are in the same boat.
If you don’t feel ok, please reach out to family and friends. Please reach out to your professors. Please reach out to ZipAssist or the Student Health Center. Please call a crisis hotline and talk to someone.
We are all in this together, even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes.
We are almost there, just hold on!
It’s going to be amazing.
Where to Find Help
If you aren’t feeling ok, and you think you need help, please reach out and find yourself the support you need:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline
Crisis TEXT Line
Text “4hope” to 741741
Send a self-referral at uakron.edu/zipassist
email: [email protected]
Visit ZipAssist in Simmons Hall
UA Counseling Center