A Student’s Perspective on the Pandemic | Article One

Mountain Lake PBS intern Shawn Alexis begins a series of articles revealing an insider’s look at how SUNY Plattsburgh students are coping with the COVID-19 situation.

“I think the worst thing COVID-19 has done to me, is not what it’s done to my present but the uncertainty it has created for my future.”

Lauren McAuliffe is a TV Video Production and a Music major at SUNY Plattsburgh. Instead of returning home to Shoreham, New York, she has chosen to stay in her apartment in Plattsburgh. When asked why she chose to stay near campus instead of going home, Lauren said “Initially, it was because I wanted to make the most of my last semester here, which meant hanging out with my friends. However, with how the virus has progressed, it’s safer for me to be here instead of being home.”

This is the mindset of a lot of students who live off campus. Many students
pay rent by the semester and are already tied down to a lease. So the choice becomes either to live out the rest of their lease at home or to stay in Plattsburgh, away from home.

A lot of students have been struggling with this change in life, including
those who are graduating. Lauren is no exception to that. Lauren finds difficulty coming to terms with her new reality while also having to worry about the safety of her loved one’s. “I cry all the time. I feel like I’m grieving the life I should’ve been living.”

This has clearly taken a toll on students’ mental health, and without the
facilities they used to be able to access, some find it hard to discover ways to stay healthy both physically and mentally. Without a gym to go to, some are trying to find innovative ways to work out. Also, a lot of people are not dealing well with Zooming into their counseling sessions, which leaves a lot of students lost in their lives.

With the arrival of COVID-19, many are fearful for their plans after the
semester is over. Some are worried about vacation plans while others are concerned about their careers. When asked about her college plans, Lauren had this to say, “My after-college plans are altered already. I was planning on moving to New York City and starting my life in the entertainment business, but now I don’t know when or where I will be able to get a job. Money is running low right now because I’m unemployed so moving
out has been pushed back. Services that would help me plan for graduation have been closed so I’m essentially on my own too.”

A lot of the youth feel as though they won’t be affected by the coronavirus. We asked Lauren how she felt about COVID-19, and just like the majority of college students, she felt as though she wasn’t going to get affected by the virus but she worried for the more vulnerable population. Just like many other students, Lauren doesn’t have a lot of hope for the end of the coronavirus. “We can hope that people would be more appreciative of life but there is no real guarantee of that happening.”

S. Alexis