COVID-19: It changed our worlds, our lives. No more classes. No more internships. No more hanging out with friends. One day it was all there, and the next day, it was taken from us. But we understand why, and we're doing all we can to flatten this curve so we can get back to the college experience we all love so much.
It's been a challenging adjustment to life in full-quarantine, though, especially for students at Florida Gulf Coast University who had one of the most beautiful campuses to enjoy every day. However, if FGCU has taught us anything, it is to give back to our amazing communities. So, despite the obstacles quarantine has thrown in our paths, we haven't stopped trying to give back - even if that simply means staying home in order to help protect those at-risk in our communities.
Here are the stories of four FGCU students' lives in quarantine, how we are helping our communities while stuck at home, and what we can't wait to do once this pandemic has ended and we can soak up the sunshine on our picturesque campus once again.
Meet The Panel:
Where are you spending quarantine? What's the vibe?
Jessica - I'm spending my quarantine in the suburbs of Tampa, Florida where you can see about a hundred people per mile out for a run or a bike ride once the sun starts to set.
Tyler - Milwaukee, Wisconsin - some people are fully-quarantined and others are in their driveway with a spotted cow, chillin' in a lawn chair.
Allison - I live in Estero, Florida. Some people were abiding by the stay-at-home orders when they were put into place while others did not. My neighborhood has its own Facebook page, and I see people arguing with each other about whether our community pool and gym should re-open or if they should stay closed. But I also see people offering to do groceries or errands for the vulnerable.
Grace - I'm spending quarantine isolated in my home in Naples, Florida. It seems like most people are quarantining and just staying inside their homes.
How do you feel about FGCU's response to COVID-19?
Jessica - In my opinion, FGCU has handled their COVID-19 response very respectably. They are consistent with their communications to us, and they are clearly trying everything in their power to ensure we get through the remainder of this semester smoothly.
Tyler - I think they have done an amazing job at keeping us informed and accommodating with grades and financials.
Allison - I believe FGCU has done a great job with keeping their students informed about COVID-19 cases on campus, as well as providing their students with the opportunity of "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory" grading, taking into consideration that adjusting to online classes amidst a pandemic is not easy.
Grace - I feel that FGCU had a good response to COVID-19, especially since at the beginning there was a lot of uncertainty. I think that FGCU has tried their best to keep the students updated via email. Overall, FGCU has done the best that they could have regarding the situation.
When did you start to notice things were different around campus?
Jessica - I started to notice things change in early March. Literally, the day after my birthday (March 12) was the last time I was on campus. I felt like I turned twenty and woke up in a totally different world.
Tyler - Early March
Allison - Early March, when Florida saw its first case of COVID-19.
Grace - I started noticing things were different when my teachers started talking about potentially moving more of the assignments online. In one of my classes, my teacher started to move the quizzes online and started posting her lectures online. She also made attendance not required anymore. I think that was when I knew something was different and that changes were coming.
What do you miss most about FGCU?
Jessica - EVERYTHING. But, if I had to pick just one, I definitely miss the campus. It truly is one of the most beautiful campuses, from the boardwalks to the library lawn, and the aesthetic was much more pleasing than my bed.
Tyler - I miss the environment and walking between classes. It is such a beautiful campus, and I love the lifestyle it offers.
Allison - FGCU is such a pretty campus, and I miss seeing the beauty of it every day. I also miss struggling through my chemistry class with my classmates. Before we moved to online classes, I would host study sessions and invite my table, and we would study together for upcoming exams. I miss learning chemistry with them.
Grace - I miss Greek Life the most. I miss all of my sorority sisters and the events we still had planned for the school year. It was hard not to be able to have a proper goodbye and having to switch all our meetings to Zoom.
What's something you didn't realize you'd miss?
Jessica - My schedule. I used to either get up early for classes or my internship, but now I stay up till 4 a.m. For as much as I complained about getting up early, I never thought I would miss that busy lifestyle so incredibly much. But I do, and Netflix just isn't cutting it anymore.
Tyler - Class? HAHA, I am definitely a lecture college student. Online classes are harder than they look.
Allison - I didn't think that I would miss the library. Doing homework and studying from the comfort of my room just isn't the same. I tend to not be as productive as I usually am when I'm in the library. I'm sure other students can agree to this.
Grace - I didn't realize how much I would miss getting to go to class every day. I miss seeing and learning from my teachers. I miss my classmates and working in groups I made during the semester. I also have definitely realized I learn better in person than online.
What's the first thing you're doing when you get back on campus?
Jessica - Hanging out with my friends. I've missed them and socializing so much. College life just isn't the same without us all together, and we barely got any time to enjoy the new gym (take me back to cycling classes!!).
Tyler - Getting some Starbucks and hammocking on the library lawn.
Allison - I'm going to go to my favorite spot on campus and just enjoy the beautiful scenery because staying indoors isn't all that pretty.
Grace - One of the first things I'm going to do is grab Starbucks and hang out with my sorority sisters outside the library. I miss meeting up with them after class and sitting at the tables while talking about our day.
How are you helping those around you while stuck in quarantine?
Jessica - For me, the most help I can provide is staying home. My parents are essential workers, which means they are in situations where they still have to come in contact with other people. Even though they take all necessary precautions, we are all being extra careful to stay inside just in case. I want to see the rest of my family so badly, but I know the most helpful thing I can do right now is to stay fully and 100 percent quarantined.
Tyler - I am working full-time to help feed my community and support my local employer. I am also practicing safe and healthy choices to ensure the safety and the health of those around me.
Allison - I write articles about the importance of social distancing in hopes of keeping the vulnerable safe from those who participate in the re-openings of states. I have also ordered a Grubhub delivery to Gulf Coast Medical Center! I miss volunteering there and helping out in any way that I can, so I decided to have some food delivered to help keep the healthcare workers motivated.
Grace - I have been writing articles about ways to not be bored and be productive during quarantine. Being in quarantine isn't easy, but I think it's important for everyone to try to find the bright side. I also have been helping take care of my great-grandma who is 101 years old. She doesn't usually go out a lot, but quarantine has eliminated those once-a-week trips to the mall, movies, and restaurants. It's very easy for her to get bored, so my family has been coming up with fun activities inside the house to keep her entertained.
Co-authored by: Tyler Mason, Allison Solis, & Grace McLaughlin