A Story’s Power
Why do you think we tell stories in times of trauma? I wasn’t sure why people did this at first but now I completely understand that we are all equally as miserable as the next person especially during this Covid-19 pandemic. It almost seems relieving to think well, this person is also miserable so it’s okay I guess? Many things have changed over the course of this pandemic including school and transferring to online learning or as some like to call it Zoom University. Many people have shared their thoughts and horror stories when it comes to dealing with covid-19 while living on a college campus. I think we share these stories in order to cope with the situation more and possibly hope for a better future. When conducting these interviews and listening to everyones stories I found it very therapeutic and interesting. I was able to comprehend their feelings on an emotional and mental level since I felt I could relate to them being a college student during a global pandemic as well. Telling stories during a traumatic moment in history is a good coping tool to help people process their feelings, this is an important idea I learned throughout conducting this project.
My friends Mikela and Katelyn both had similar experiences up at school when it came to testing positive for covid-19 while living on a college campus. They both discovered who their true friends were. Mikela is a junior in college at the University of Hartford covid-19 greatly influenced her throughout the semester. She even had to move out of her house on campus because her roommates were giving her a hard time about contracting covid-19. This also happened to a good friend of mine Katelyn as well who is a senior at Marist College. They both described these experiences as “It was hard and just an awful experience going through that”. Hearing these stories made me upset but it also felt very relieving since I went through a similar experience myself and going through something like that can really damage your mental health. I’m just happy that things worked out in the end and everyone found help through a really good support system. I think sharing these stories also helped us cope and realized that we have so much more than we think and that we have amazing people in our lives who out shadow the bad. “Evidence from general population studies suggests that young adults may be especially vulnerable to the psychological sequelae of a COVID-19 outbreak” (Lopez-Castro 3). I think this statement is factual because the majority of people who are affected mentally by covid-19 are college students.
I also spoke to my boyfriend Jordan Epp, a junior at Siena College to hear about how his experience at school differed from mine. Well firstly he actually tested positive for covid-19 and he said the school handled it so poorly. He said the school immediately kicked him out luckily he had a car and lived close but his friends weren’t as lucky. Most of his friends had a 2+ hour car ride home at 10pm on top of being sick. He said the school doesn’t care, they just want you out of here as soon as possible. All his roommates had covid-19 as well so everyone was in the same boat but the school didn’t handle it well at all. He even said “Public safety acts like they have all the power and think they are the CDC and will do anything to get you in trouble. I got fined 150 dollars for not going to my covid test and they care more about drinking then spreading covid.” Clearly their priorities are in the wrong place and I experienced this as well. They prefer monitoring underaged drinking rather than stopping the spread of covid. “The students participating in the study describe this process as a hard and distressing process and a process that requires precautions” (Arici 5). This study and Jordan’s experience can both relate to each other as well as mine and we can see that in just sharing these stories of our struggles being on campus this semester.
My sister Lisa who will be a future educator as a gym teacher also had some stories to tell about the current education system. She is a young adult with a degree in marketing that she got from Siena College. But she found a new passion in education and is now going to school online which is foriegn to her. She thinks that it is important for herself and her future students to be in person learning. She said “some kids just need things more hands on” which is true. She also talks about her mental health and how it’s hard for her to cope with being locked inside all day since she is an active person. This is something I can also relate to. I love to go outdoors and run and play with my neighbors dogs and take them on walks. “Students feel that online learning has not provided better experience and productivity in mastering competencies, but can provide motivation and ease in their learning” (Syauqi 7). This study agrees with mine and my sisters’ opinions so in a way sharing our stories we were able to see that we share similar outlooks on certain topics and believe me when I tell you sisters don’t agree on much topics at all!
I think conducting these interviews made me realize that as college students we all have similar experiences especially when it comes to coping with covid-19 by telling stories. I think hearing what my friends had to say really showed me that we are all the same boat together in dealing with the highs and lows of this pandemic. And storytelling has helped us all much more than we thought it has while sharing our similar experiences.
Arici, Bayram. “Analysis of University Students’ Opinions on the COVID-19 Process and the Distance Education Method Applied in This Process: The Sample of Mus Alparslan University.” African Educational Research Journal, vol. 8, Oct. 2020, pp. 344–352.EBSCOhost,search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.siena.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1274627&site=eds-live.
López-Castro, Teresa, et al. “Experiences, Impacts and Mental Health Functioning during aCOVID-19 Outbreak and Lockdown: Data from a Diverse New York City Sample of College Students.” PLoS ONE, vol. 16, no. 4, Apr. 2021. EBSCOhost,doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0249768.
Syauqi, Khusni, et al. “Students’ Perceptions toward Vocational Education on Online Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” International Journal of Evaluation and Research in Education, vol. 9, no. 4, Dec. 2020, pp. 881–886. EBSCOhost,search-ebscohost-com.ezproxy.siena.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1274581&site=eds-live.