How Journalism Students Are Handling Life In Quarantine

In the age of COVID-19 a lot of things have changed, including the way the media approaches reporting. In the already never-ending news cycle of 2020, this pandemic has taken over. Not only are professional journalists impacted, but student journalists are impacted as well.

We decided to ask some current and former journalism students about their outlook on COVID-19. Let's meet the panel:


Where are you spending quarantine? What's the vibe?

Bri: I'm spending quarantine at my house. It's a pretty laid back vibe. Normally, I'm used to being so busy, this is probably the most time I've spent in my house since I graduated from my undergrad.

Cora: I'm spending quarantine alone in Virginia Beach in my apartment. I'm isolated as much as possible with Disney+, Netflix and Hulu at my fingertips.

Olivia: I am currently spending it in my house in Florida! There are a bunch of people that live here, so we're actively driving each other insane!

Megan: I'm currently spending my days at Target where I work to help guests in need of their essential items. It has been pretty crazy. We are starting to see many guests come in and shop for unnecessary things like home decor and toys. I overlook the fulfillment team, which is online orders and drive-ups. Those have gone through the roof because thousands of people are refusing to go into stores to shop.

Sophie: I am spending my quarantine at home with my family. We tend to drive each other crazy, but we all still love each other. I feel like a hobbit at my home. I find myself drawing and painting, eating a lot of good food, drinking lots of tea and tending to the gardens and animals in our yard.

How do you feel about our media's response to COVID-19?

Bri: I think like most things the media does there has been good and bad. I'm not a believer in fear-based reporting. I do believe this is incredibly serious, but I also would like to see more of the good mixed in with the inevitable. Insider did an amazing piece on the great things people are doing around the globe, and sometimes, I'd just like to see a little bit more of that.

Cora: I feel proud to know that they are practicing what they are reporting. Several stations have adjusted their environments with social distancing as they keep people up to date on what's really happening.

Olivia: The media definitely hypes up every case. I do know COVID-19 is serious, but society makes every case extreme and will report if someone has symptoms to worry citizens even more!

Megan: I feel like I hear the same thing over all platforms, like they are reading the same script from someone else.

Sophie: I believe the media is blowing some aspects of COVID-19 out of proportion. It is scaring people (with some good reason), but I wish it wasn't so obnoxious.

When did you start to know it was serious? When did you start taking action?

Bri: I work in the education field now, so when schools started shutting down, I knew this was not going to be gone overnight.

Cora: I knew it was getting serious when everyday life got different. More places are closed, and people started using napkins for toilet paper. I was boosting my hand washing more, and I stopped wearing makeup.

Olivia: Mostly when my spring break trips were getting canceled, colleges moved to online schooling and my job temporarily shut down.

Megan: I know it's serious by the actions certain states or cities are taking. I currently live in Utah, and even though we aren't on strict lockdown, many individuals have stopped coming to work to be quarantined. I honestly haven't done anything to change how I've been living my life. The only thing I've noticed is that I wash my hands way more and sanitize more often. But it hasn't affected me directly so I haven't changed anything personally.

Sophie: About two months ago I knew it was getting really bad. I kept reading about how China was faring and then getting worse. When other countries were shutting down their airports, I became worried, especially when my parents were going on a cruise and then to another trip out of the country at the time.

What do you miss most about being on campus?

Bri: I'm an online student, so I'm not on a physical campus. I live about an hour and a half away from my undergraduate university though, and some of my friends are still in their undergrad, so I miss being able to just drive there to see them. Now, we're all spread out and back home.

Cora: What I miss most about being on campus is the option. I live off-campus so being on campus was a change of scenery and a great place to walk around.

Olivia: Getting out of the house, seeing all my friends, the views/scenery on campus!

Megan: I'm currently taking online classes through Southern New Hampshire so the whole "not going to campus" doesn't apply to me. Nothing with my education has changed except I'm working towards a pass or fail grade rather than a letter grade.

Sophie: I miss some of my friends, going to class and the beautiful view of the beach.

What's something you didn't realize you would miss?

Bri: Going out to eat! I miss just being able to run an errand or go somewhere when I want to do it. I can't go to a coffee shop and study. I think I really just miss he freedom. Oh, and NBA games. I miss those a lot too.

Cora: I didn't realize how much I'd miss all the chances to be social. As an extrovert, I love being around people, and social events are where I shine to include others. There was a school dance for me, as a grad student, and I just got a date for it, and then campus went online so everything got canceled. On top of that, social distancing and a stay-at-home order restrict me to only contact people over the phone.

Olivia: The beach! All beaches shut down and I am obsessed with the beach... it was my little piece of sanity!

Megan: What I miss is having the freedom to travel. I'm not one to sit around at home when I have the day off so feeling that I have nowhere to go and seem to not have the option to go anywhere is making me very antsy. And, it makes me want to adventure off somewhere so badly.

Sophie: I really miss hiking around my college town. I have such bad cabin fever at the moment. I try to run every day to get my energy out and not feel stuck inside all day.

What's the first thing you're doing when you get back?

Bri: As soon as this is lifted, I want to see my friends again... in person, not over FaceTime.

Cora: I am on the fence between looking forward to being able to make physical contact with others and eating inside restaurants.

Olivia: Definitely going to the beach!

Megan: The first thing I want to do is go hiking in southern Utah. Go to the mall to shop for some new shoes and maybe go get my nails done, to treat myself. I also got a Groupon for a massage place so, hopefully, that will still be valid (haha).

Sophie: Hiking, touring museums and getting a job!!!

How are you helping those around you?

Bri: I'm trying to do my part to follow the regulations in my state, and I'm trying my best to assist my students' parents in this age of at-home learning.

Cora: I am helping those around me by checking in, making sure they're OK and keeping my tail inside.

Olivia: Honestly, helping others when they're more likely to getting severely sick from it! I am constantly using Lysol, washing my hands all the time, just making sure I don't get it because I don't want to pass it to someone who won't make it if they get it!

Megan: The most impactful thing I'm doing for people around me is mostly through my job at Target. Creating a safe and healthy environment for people to still shop for their essential needs. At Target, we've been wiping down carts for every individual who comes through the door, and we've even put decals on the floor to integrate social distancing of 6ft.

Sophie: I like to send letters to my friends that are abroad and that are from my college. I like to send small art pieces to them and try to relate to them in this moment and hope they are well. For the most part, I am keeping myself clean, washing my hands, not touching my face and touching base with people who feel lonely during these times.

Impressed by our creators? We know we are! Check out the rest of their content by clicking on their name below!

Bri Cicero

Cora Dickey

Olivia White

Megan Martin

Sophie Rowe

In case you're now wondering how to create a panel discussion on Odyssey, we've got you covered. Click here to find out how to create panel content of your own!

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