How I’m Navigating College During the Era of Coronavirus

by Anna Cayot ’20

If you’re a college student like me, you’re probably struggling to keep up with the news and rapid changes that are taking place as a result of Coronavirus, or COVID-19.

I’ll be honest, things are really difficult right now. From classes being moved online to campus events being cancelled to moving out of student housing, my community at Azusa Pacific University is hurting. This is not how I pictured my college experience.

In the hopes of helping other students like me, here’s how I’m navigating these challenges one day at a time.

Making Efforts to Protect My Wellbeing

When I feel myself getting caught up in the anxiety of everything, I am reminded how important it is to take care of myself. Start by paying careful attention to your mental health, in addition to safeguarding your physical health. Social distancing and intentional isolation are how we will combat this virus, yet this can lead to feelings of anxiety and loneliness. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help to a counselor or spiritual mentor.

Fortunately, avoiding physical interaction doesn’t prevent us from social connection in the age of FaceTime, Netflix Party, and Google Hangouts. It is so important to stay plugged into your community support system. Take care of yourself, and take care of each other. Being by yourself does not mean that you have to be alone.

Channeling Energy into School

I’m also trying to be diligent about not getting behind in classes. I am a student who has a harder time working without the structure of in-person classes, and knowing this meant I had to figure out a way to adjust really quickly. This situation is stressful enough as it is, and getting behind in school would only compound the problem.

Something that works for me is using the times I would normally be in class to complete reading and assignments, even though the online course is now asynchronous. I’m making time every day for school. See if you can find a routine or practice like this that helps you. For me, it helps to have somewhere to channel my energy and continue learning.

Keeping Vulnerable Populations in Mind

As someone living with chronic illness, I’m well aware that some of my fellow students and community members may be more susceptible to illness than others. Remembering this creates an extra sense of urgency about the reality of the virus. In fact, the state where I live has issued a “Safer at Home” directive, and many others are following suit.

Some might want to joke about cheap flights or throw a party out of boredom, but it is crucial to keep in mind that staying inside and apart is not only to keep you safe, but others as well. Congregating can carry the virus to new people and areas, putting immunocompromised people in even more danger. That’s why it is so important to remember the most vulnerable individuals when we make decisions.

Resisting Fear, Standing in Faith

The actions we take now as a society will create a path forward. In the midst of the chaos, students like us can choose to stand strong and not give in to fear.

One way to resist fear is by relying on faith. Recently, Meredith Miller, pastor of Pomona Valley Church spoke, saying, “People who know Jesus well will attest to the joy of life with Him. They are not saying that things have not been hard. On the contrary, they know what it means to go through hard things with hope, and so they can attest to life on the other side. When I am in despair, I look to them, and trust that joy will come again for me, too. What they have found is a way to take their fears and anxieties to God, to really name them honestly in God’s presence, and to talk with God about them in such a way that peace is no longer a platitude, it’s real.”

Find a place to take your fears and anxieties, and keep rising up. Yes, things feel chaotic now, but we will keep walking, and trusting, and finding new ways of putting the world back together again.

Anna Cayot ’20 is a senior English major and an editorial intern in the Office of University Relations.