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This week we interviewed one student at Florida State University in order to gather insight on how the pandemic has changed their life one year later. We’ve decided to keep the identity of this student anonymous for the sake of privacy.

COVID-19 turned the world upside down in 2020 after a worldwide outbreak which resulted in millions of deaths and even more total cases. Throughout the pandemic, many people lost their jobs, homes, businesses and close family members. While people all over the world have been trying to piece their lives together after this tragedy, the lives of young adults and college students have been oftentimes overlooked. One student that we interviewed lost their job a few months following the initial start of the pandemic.

The student said, “As an out-of-state student working to put myself through college, I really struggled financially to refrain from having to drop out.” While colleges like FSU and TCC provided some financial support for students, those who relied on their jobs to help pay for school were forced to either drop out or rely on loans to put them through school. This creates a problem when students who are already at a financial disadvantage are forced to take out loans which usually take years to pay back, especially when these same students are now unemployed and have no current source of income.

“My parents aren’t able to support me financially, so I’m on my own when it comes to paying for school,” the student explained. Many students at Florida State and all over the country don’t have financial support from parents or other family members, which has made the effects of the pandemic especially hard on them.

“The pandemic has affected my mental health as well, I wasn’t able to be around as many people as usual during the lockdown which triggered some depressive feelings for me,” the student stated. Financial hardship was a huge problem during the pandemic and while everyone was doing their best to prioritize their physical health, I believe that mental health was oftentimes overlooked throughout the past year. In 2020 we all lived during a time of uncertainty not only due to the pandemic but also politically as well which has been shown to trigger many mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

The student elaborated, “Online classes were really hard for me, I didn’t really get to interact with my professors or classmates and had a really hard time paying attention.” For many students at the start of the pandemic they hadn’t even graduated high school and now that classes are almost fully in person, these same students are freshmen and even sophomores in college. This huge change has left many students feeling unprepared for college life socially and academically.

“I think it’s important that we acknowledge the damage that this pandemic had done to people our age, our lives will likely never be the same and we should acknowledge that and figure out how to progress in the right direction,” the student noted. The pandemic has challenged our lives as we know it, certain social systems that we had in place at the start of the pandemic may never go back to the way they were. But, it is important that we work to rebuild everything for the better and become stronger after 2020 to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself.

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Hey, I'm Tenejah! I'm currently a Senior at Florida State University with a major in Public Health and a minor in African American Studies. I'm super excited to be writing this year
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