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  • Ta’Neeka DeMyers

How Michigan College Students Cope With Quarantine

Since classes moved to online (remote) learning during quarantine regulations due to the coronavirus pandemic, Michigan college students are adjusting to being stuck at home.

Olivet College sophomore Brian Taylor, said over Zoom video call that he copes with online classes by counting down the days and pushing through getting stuff done “for the day” so he can “feel accomplished”. Taylor said, with his free time, that he and his family make masks for the hospital, and have made about 2000 so far.

He also said he exercises and his family has “family day” or “family night” together. He said he feels “terrible” living in quarantine because he cannot do a lot of stuff, and that he is looking forward to “the gym”, being with his friends, and “staying out at night” when it is over. Taylor said his advice for other students during this time is to “find something productive to do . . . build a puzzle, do something with your family that you never did before . . . Just talk to people you haven’t talked to in a while . . .” He also said to “Trust in the process” and “Make it a positive.”

Over Zoom video call, another Olivet College sophomore, Emily Epps, said she deals with online schooling by “usually” planning a “schedule” on Sunday of what she needs to get done. Throughout the week, she said it “motivates” her to “keep crossing stuff off because it’s satisfying . . .” With her free time, she said she plays “The Sims a lot”, plays “a lot of video games”, watches Netflix, and spends “more time” with her family.

When asked about her feelings of quarantine, Epps said, “At first, I liked it, but now I’m just kind of tired of it, but it’s all for a . . . reason.” When it is over, she said she is excited to “go back to school next semester”, “to go to church”, “actually go shopping”, and have “actual human interaction.” Epps said her advice would be, “The semester’s almost over, so don’t give up now . . . it’s gonna end quicker than you think, but try to put as much effort in as you would if you were at school.”

Jailen Bernier, a senior at Aquinas College, said over Messenger Video Call that she copes with remote learning and stays motivated by knowing that she has to get her work done in order to graduate. She said she also keeps motivated by helping her little sister do her homework since she is going to be helping students do this in the future. “Helping her right now is helping me,” said Bernier.

During her free time, she said she plays table games like dominoes and Skip-Bo, she reads, and she watches shows. She also said she is ready for quarantine to be over and looks forward to seeing her boyfriend and friends. Bernier said her advice would be “ . . . Don’t let your dreams go down the drain just because, you know, you’re stuck at home . . . find different ways to stay motivated.”

Grand Valley State University sophomore Robert Kyle III said through email that he copes with online schooling by “taking it one step at a time” instead of doing “everything” simultaneously to keep from being overwhelmed. To stay motivated at home, he said he works and stays “focused” on “singing and cooking”, both of which are activities that “matter” to him. Even though he said he has no free time due to “working crazy hours” at his job he had before leaving for school, Kyle said he is not “complaining”, and he is “fortunate enough” and “grateful” to go back to work and “make money”. Despite wanting it to end, he said he is getting “used to” quarantine. However, he said he struggles with it because he “never thought going to the grocery store or work would be the highlight” of his day.

“I am looking forward to going on a long trip after all of this is over. I don't know where I’m going, all I know is that I’m going,” said Kyle. He said his advice is to “keep your head up and do what you know is best for you . . .This situation has been a struggle but you can make it through . . . and still come out on top. Like I said before, it’s is important to find something that is important to you.”

Senior at Michigan State University Jasmine Garrett-McNair said through email that although she is fully studying online now, most of her classes were online “prior to quarantine”. Garret-McNair said she struggles with “staying motivated to work”, but it mostly “helps” her to write down daily what she needs to do in her planner. “It allows me to keep some structure to my life in the craziness,” she said. She also said that she does not have a lot of free time because she works, but she watches Netflix and works on fulfilling her online “internship requirements” when she is not working. Living in quarantine, she said she dislikes not being able to “hang out” with her friends.

“I’m a naturally introverted person and I’m not a huge fan of physical touch, but when quarantine is lifted I’m looking forward to spending time with all my friends and lots of hugs! I’m also looking forward to cooking for all my friends again.” Garret-McNair said.

Garret-McNair’s advice to students would be “it’s almost over! Just try to create and stick to a schedule. Don’t sleep in too late . . . try to go to sleep at a decent time or a time that is normal for you outside of quarantine so you can feel like you’re still adhering to a routine of some sort!”

Joy Mazhangara, a fifth-year senior who also attends MSU, said through Zoom video call that when it first started, she dealt with online schooling by creating “structure” with a “morning routine”, but she eventually did not keep up with it. However, she said she still does what she has to do for school. With her free time, she spends time on TikTok and watches inspirational videos, sermons, and television.

Being a “homebody” or “introvert”, Mazhangara said quarantine does not feel that different. However, she said “It’s just that I don’t have the little human interaction that I had before . . . it’s not fun.” She said she still keeps in contact with people and wishes people “a good day” whenever she thinks about them. Mazhangara also said that she looks forward to seeing people “in person” and to her “experience” of moving into a new community at the end of the month and seeing what it “has to offer”.

Mazhangara said her advice is, “With all the free time, do what makes you happy . . . find a routine for yourself . . . and do your best . . . to keep up with it . . . structure is good . . .” She also said that “adaptability is key in a time like this.”

Photo by Jackson Murphy

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