Coronavirus changes colleges, college students


McKenzie Quirin, Contributing Writer - Altoona PA

Colleges around the world have been affected and impacted because of the increased spread of the Coronavirus.  With the increase in COVID-19, colleges have canceled events, closed dorms and disrupted the lives of students and faculty.

According to an article from Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC), at least 1,102 colleges and universities in the United States have closed campuses. With all of these closures, COVID-19 has impacted over 14 million students.

College students around the world were unprepared to leave their dorms and apartments so quickly during this time.

“I wasn’t prepared at all. We were expecting to return to campus in three days to resume the semester, so I only brought home some clothes for spring break. Once we found out that we were transitioning to online classes, we had a week to clean out our rooms,” University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown sophomore Madelyn Ardrey said.

“I was not at all prepared to leave my dorm. I basically had more than half of the things I use every day there so it was hard when spring break was extended, and I didn’t have those things. We had to sign up for a specific time to get our things, which was a later date than we thought it would be,” Juniata College freshman Molly Kreuz said.

“I was not prepared at all. When we found out our classes were moved to online classes, I had to drive back to school just to get the remainder of my stuff out of my apartment,” Indiana University of Pennsylvania junior Morgan Lidwell said.

Some college students were not affected as much with moving out of dorms.

“…it didn’t really affect me because I am still able to go to my apartment,” Indiana University of Pennsylvania senior Ethan Blackie said.

“I personally was not affected by that because my apartment is off-campus and is not affiliated with the campus so I did not have to leave; however, I know a kid that left all of his school stuff in his dorm and can’t easily get it because he lives six hours away,” University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown sophomore Rebecca Musselman said.

Living at home while still trying to succeed in their school work can be challenging during a time like this.

“It is definitely a big difference for me; I can’t focus unless I’m sitting in my cube on the silent floor of the library. It has been very hard to establish a routine at home that works for me, and going into the fourth week home from school, I think I’m finally doing a bit better with being able to get that routine down so it’s easier to study, do work, go to class and just make time for everything I have to do in a day,” Lidwell said.

“It honestly has been pretty awful. It’s very difficult to concentrate on work especially if the videos of the lectures are uploaded and not on Zoom, and it’s even worse when the teacher just uploads content to teach yourself. Being secluded and not being able to have interactions with friends or peers has put a real damper on my mental health. Trying to do school in these conditions makes it very difficult to stay motivated,” Musselman said.

Colleges have moved all classes online.

“My teachers have purposely made the material easier because they know this transition is hard, and we are practically teaching ourselves. So while we are still learning, it’s things that are easier to handle, and we also have more time to complete things. I think that my professors are really understanding, so they aren’t overworking us. Overall, it’s easy to handle, and we have more time to complete things. Also, our professors have ‘office hours’ every day so we can FaceTime them,” Kreuz said.

“I honestly prefer being in class and having a face to face contact with my professors and classmates. Although online classes have not been much different. Teachers are still able to teach with PowerPoint and still have class discussions,” Blackie said.

COVID-19 has impacted college students in different ways. Students do not know what could happen next.

“I just heard a rumor that a college might not go back for the fall semester, and I hope that doesn’t happen with UPJ. I was really excited to live with my friends next year. Again, I, and a lot of other students, are not very good at taking online classes and pushing themselves to get their work done. I know that I personally would not be able to do this for another semester,” Musselman said.

Blackie believes not being able to attend his commencement/graduation ceremony has impacted him the most.

Positives can be taken from COVID-19 according to some college students.

“You know I think this virus thing is very hard on each and every person right now and a positive thing that I have been able to bring out of it is unity. It’s sad that it takes something so terrifying to bring people together, but I feel like there is a sense of unity in our world right now because we are all going through something so similar. We’re all able to relate and support each other,” Lidwell said.


“Positives that I have seen a lot of news about is that the virus positively affects climate change and human health. Since all the big factories were forced to shut down, there have been reports of cleaner air which is a huge positive,” Kreuz said.

During this time, students try to support family and friends.

“I think you can be supportive of your friends and family by being supportive of yourself. In consideration of this virus, we all need to be practicing ‘social distancing’ and avoiding others, but this is a universal problem. Just because you personally won’t be harmed doesn’t mean that you can be the reason someone else can be seriously harmed by this virus,” Blackie said.

“The virus has affected my friends in the same way that it has affected me. They’ve lost their jobs, can’t keep up with schoolwork and are completely just missing that routine they have and person to person interaction that we all miss I think. Different members of my family have lost their jobs through this as well, and other immune compromised people we have to be extra careful with. The more healthy people in my family have been getting them groceries and getting them anything they need to stay comfortable during this, but it really does take a village. And no I do not find it hard to be supportive to others during this time; we are all going through it pretty equally right now. I think that’s what makes it so easy,” Lidwell said.

With college closures, college admissions for students have become difficult.

According to United States News article, college responses include emphasizing virtual tours, creating more online content for prospective students and extending the deadline to accept offers of admission to later dates.