Letter to the Editor: Day in the life of an “essential college student”

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Tyeri Putnam

Have you thought about what’s it like being a college student during the pandemic of COVID-19, also known as “corona?” And not only that, but also what it is like being considered an “essential worker” during said crisis that’s killing thousands globally and hindering the economy and our social life, when “social distancing” should be at an all-time high?

Well, no need to think anymore, here is a day in the life of an “essential college student.”

So, we were entering spring break 2020 and that’s when I felt everything changed; we got an extended break for an extra week for the people who went travelling, just in case they might’ve encountered someone with COVID-19. I thought this was understandable and a smart move because we were hearing about all our other college friends getting an extended break AND the rest of their semester online. With all of this going on I knew I was going to be spending my break at work and home, because “social distancing” was starting to take over, but of course not everyone’s going to follow that.

Anyways, the extended break is nearing its end and we, Texas State students, now have gotten the email that the rest of the semester will take place online. Doesn’t sound bad for those of us who don’t live at home, but what about the others who had this as their getaway, first time on their own, or the ones that know they won’t have the tools necessary to succeed while not on or near campus? Ouch. Now, we’re into online classes that no one knew how to work, not even professors, and they actually are going quite smooth if you keep up with your dates and make sure you’re checking your email.

Let’s not forget the other part of this story, the “essential worker.” I work in the fast food industry and while the pandemic is going on, and “non-important” businesses are getting shut down, I was thinking that we would be one of them; but I was wrong, we are indeed “essential.” Though I was shocked and upset that we still have to work during a time of social distancing, I still felt that a part of me needed to be grateful because I still had a job while others are unemployed and have to file for unemployment. I couldn’t imagine and wouldn’t want to be in that predicament.

Though I should be grateful about having a job and the stimulus check we so gratefully deserved I will say, as an “essential worker” we should automatically be getting higher pay for risking our lives for corporations who think of us only as a number. I also think that one stimulus check isn’t going to cut it for the unemployed or us essential workers.

Some people think “they aren’t going to keep handing us money,” but from my point of view I don’t see anything wrong with that; What’s so wrong about giving money to your U.S. citizens during a crisis? What’s so wrong with giving U.S. citizens some coins when we have presidents, Congresspeople, entrepreneurs, celebrities and others who have millions and billions of dollars that they don’t need? Help me understand.

On a more positive note, I’m glad my job is “trying” to take the necessary precautions to keep us safe, by making us wear gloves, washing our hands every 15-20 minutes, AND giving us masks that make us feel like certified surgeons. We don’t know when this is going to end and how long “social distancing” is going to be, so what we can do in the meantime is hope for the best and focus on our mind, body and spirit.


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