Students respond: How have COVID-19 policies changed your life?

It’s almost an understatement to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has altered our ways of life. While Californians were the first to be put under a mandatory stay-at-home order on March 19, other states followed suit, and, now, almost 300 million people are being asked to only leave their residences for essential activities. 

Over spring break, we asked UC San Diego students to share their experiences to find out how COVID-19 policies, like social distancing or shelter-in-place, have affected our lives, families, and communities. Here’s what five of them had to say. 

Nithish Narasimman, First-Year, Currently Located in Seattle, Washington
“Luckily, I was able to get back home during these hectic times albeit my home being the epicenter of this epidemic. I haven’t left my home for the past week except for short walks around my neighborhood. I usually like to stay home, but not having the option to leave and go hang out with friends is a very suffocating feeling. I have been talking to my friends more through video calls and regular calls while playing games with them.” 

Noelle Aguinaldo, Fourth-Year, Currently Located in San Diego, California
“‘I don’t know’ is my new mantra. This has been a time of uncertainty for me, and undoubtedly, everyone else. A time when bills demand to be paid with no means to settle them. When public places and socialization threaten vitality. When years of hard work and late nights across generations might go unrecognized. Everything is just toying with my anxiety, and life seems to be teetering on a delicate line that separates fiction from reality.”

William Pham, Second-Year, Currently Located in San Diego, California
“In regards to the routine at home, not much has exactly changed, except when spring quarter starts up again, instead of waking up super early just to commute to school and get to my classes, I can sleep in later and then log on to attend classes. My family still has to go to work because they are essential, but now they go to [get] groceries less often and are trying to hit multiple stores in one trip so they will have to go out less.”

Hugo Mercado, First-Year, Currently Located in Chula Vista, California 
“My daily routine probably would have been the same regardless of the precautions currently in place. Since we’re on spring break, I fill my time playing Xbox and working out at home or at a friend’s house since the gyms are closed. I can’t work or anything, and the beaches are closed, so those are two downsides. But COVID-19 has brought all the boys back together in the hometown, and most of us still meet up despite social distancing.”

Ryan Su, Third-Year, Currently Located in San Francisco, California
“As of late, I’m confused as to who I am. Being back home, even if I’m sheltered in, has always made me feel more like myself. But, I don’t want to be that exact person anymore. This shelter in place has brought back memories of what I was like in high school and it simultaneously amazes me and makes me uncomfortable to think about how much I’ve grown since. 

I’ve been fixated on this song that my housemate sent me, “Grow As We Go” by Ben Platt. … For so long, I always thought that there was an independence to growth. I now disagree. … Especially in times like this, I can now clearly see how people affect me and teach me how to grow both positively and negatively. I don’t need to or want to be on my own at all. Rather than telling yourself that you can leave, be alone, or even be tied down to nothing, try to grow with someone right now if you have that blessing. Growth doesn’t happen alone. It happens through experience, and human experience will always include another. A lot of my friends have been telling me that they feel like they’ve hit a dead end because of these policies. I completely disagree. There is so much to do; even at a slow online pace, there is so much room for growth. 

In response to COVID-19, to the shelter-in-place rule, to the news, I thought — there’s so much to do. Now I have all the time in the world to grow and add to it.”

Have an experience you’d like to share? Email us at [email protected]

Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash