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Day 17 of Social Distancing: Life as a college student during a global pandemic and the social responsibility that goes along with it

The Importance of Social Distancing

Making the active decision to stay home and distance myself from friends, neighbors, family, professors, and anyone in between requires discipline, mental toughness, and courage; not traits I particularly associated with myself. However, this choice saves lives and flattens the curve.

A visualization of what flattening the curve looks like.

The red curve represents a scenario where a huge volume of cases overwhelms the health-care system, and the lack of hospital beds and respirators fail to accommodate those infected. However, the blue curve represents people practicing social distancing, self-quarantine, and proper hygiene which allows for healthcare systems to properly manage the pandemic.

 Why do I practice social distancing?

I practice social distancing for other reasons too; personal reasons. I live with type 1 diabetes and therefore am considered to be “at risk.” Aside from myself, I also have a father who currently lives in congestive heart failure and my papa, my dad’s father, is a polio survivor, but still lives with complications such as lung and breathing issues from the disease. However, it is evident that COVID-19 does not discriminate. With 103,321 confirmed cases and 1,668 total deaths in the U.S. as of March 29, 2020 according to the CDC, I practice social distancing for my mother and 9-year-old sister also who are perfectly healthy.

How I Have Been Affected by COVID-19 So Far

I am a sophomore at Southern Methodist University studying Corporate Communications and Public Affairs and currently work with the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, however COVID-19 cut the second semester of my second year entirely too short. But now, I must fulfill my social responsibility of contributing to flattening the curve.

Since I left campus March 13, 2020, I have been at home in Crandall, Texas, a small town about 30 miles east of Dallas. I’ve been spending time with my family, my goldendoodle Rimmee, and taking this whole experience in day by day. So far, online classes have been a struggle and maintaining a school-life balance has been challenging as it is harder to separate the classroom from my bedroom where I have set up my workspace. Advice to parents: if you have a college student home participating in online courses, their course load is likely just as intense as their load on campus, be patient with us. Just like most families during this time, mine is definitely on edge. However, we try our hardest to be understanding and kind as all of us are experiencing some kind of stress. Explaining to my sister that she won’t be going back to school for a while and why we as a family are social distancing was particularly challenging as her 9-year-old heart and mind couldn’t comprehend the social crisis currently going on; she just wants to be able to play with her friends. I plan to take my struggles day by day and do what I can to manage my boredom, fears, anxiety, and stress in healthy ways. My time at home has been alternately terrifying and boring, sometimes both at the same time.

My dog Rimmee falling asleep during class.
My dresser turned personal workspace.

Through this blog provided by the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Responsibility, I will provide updates on my life as a student, daughter, caregiver, and ultimately human being during the COVID-19 crisis. This is a time that history will always remember, and recording the experience is an important part of it.


One reply on “Day 17 of Social Distancing: Life as a college student during a global pandemic and the social responsibility that goes along with it”

Love this article! I was just thinking last night about how all of this is affecting college students that have in the blink of an eye been displaced from their normal school activities, friends and living situations! Talk about a disruption and then trying to navigate online courses that you know you need the face to face instruction to fully grasp the subject. I am going to be more patient as a college student parent for sure! Keep up the great work!

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