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College and COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed the way many people live their lives, including students of all ages.

College students have learned to adapt since the beginning of the pandemic, but to this day some say it’s still taking a toll on their mental health.

“It definitely is hard. I don’t want to sugar coat it,” said Maggie Walsh, a student at Robert Morris University, originally from the Johnstown area.

She says missing out on the traditional college experience due to COVID-19 can be difficult.

“Awards ceremonies, going to football games and basketball games, even just getting to eat in the dining halls with your friends. We don’t really do that anymore,” she said.

Maggie is a junior Nursing major, learning how to become a nurse with a pandemic thrown on top of it.

“I also think it’s preparing us in a way that most nursing students don’t have,” she said.

Johnstown native Aditi Sridhar goes to the University of Pittsburgh, who says the pandemic has made planning her future even more stressful.

“Every young adult our age goes through this phase where you don’t know what’s going to happen in your life, and that exists already, then having COVID on top of all of that is absolutely insane,” she said.

Aditi says, as a college sophomore, she’s already had a taste of college that was taken away.

Although, students who began college during the pandemic as a Freshman, like Isa Panebianco of Johnstown, don’t know what a normal college experience really is yet.

“My motivation is definitely not as high as it used to be, even being organized. I feel like I have to make my bed so I don’t go back into it, and keep my motivation up,” Isa said.

She says she was paying for the college experience, but not getting it.

So, she transferred from Chatham University in Pittsburgh to Pitt-Johnstown to be close to home and save money.

“There was definitely a lot of activities that I couldn’t attend. Even a lot of my orientations were on Zoom, which is so weird, because it’s like, ‘Here’s this building that you’re also not going to be in, ever, because we’re on remote learning,” she said.

These students say that COVID-19 is teaching their generation to look at things in new perspectives.

“I’m privileged to have these kinds of problems, where I’m just not sure what I’m doing this summer, compared to other people who are truly suffering financially and are losing their loved ones,” said Aditi.

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