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The Antelope

The Antelope

Lack of social interaction takes a toll

jasmine thompson


The last month of my college education was taken away quite recently, and I find myself upset at the matter. Should I have graduated in four years instead of five? If so, I wouldn’t be dealing with being a college student during COVID-19. Instead, I could be possibly dealing with unemployment. 

I have to say, dealing with this as a college student is 100 times less stressful than if I were a full-time employee because the potential consequences are endless. I don’t even know where to begin. Would my employer have me work from home or would I be laid off?

Since I took an extra year to earn my bachelor’s degree, that is a question that I don’t have to ask myself. As a five-year senior, I’ve sometimes looked down on myself for taking too long, but then I remember my achievements. I never took a year off, I’ve always been a full-time student, and I’ve always had an income.

Thanks to an internship I snagged as a freshman at UNK, I am guaranteed pay until I graduate. Even if there is no work to be done, I don’t have to stress about not receiving a paycheck or not being able to afford rent. I am beyond grateful that those are items on the agenda that don’t need to be addressed.

On the other hand, isolation is hard. I like my alone time as much as the most introverted person ever, but I also need social interaction. Yes, Zoom meetings are fine and dandy, but I need the physical aspects like gut-wrenching laughter and understanding from my real friends.

I am much luckier than others, as I have a significant other who I get to see every day. But other people, such as my friend, live by themselves. This makes isolation much harder to bear, and I understand that. My heart goes out to her and my mother, as they take on COVID-19 isolation by themselves.

But for me, my boyfriend is still working at CHS Agri-Service, a grain elevator in Elm Creek. Although he is home during the evenings, he isn’t during the day. This allows me to complete homework or internship work before he heads home around 5 p.m.

In that way, isolation has been good. I can spend the entire day working in my home office and completing assignments, all thanks to the multimedia department loaning me a fast Mac laptop. If it weren’t for Dr. Nannette Hogg, I would be in a very slow predicament as my Mac desktop is incredibly slow. Even though my last month of physical higher-education was taken away from me in a matter of weeks, I have the resources, the equipment and the people I need in order to overcome this virus.

I am upset that my last month at my internship was taken away, as I have built relationships with my coworkers over the past five years. When I graduate, it will be the end of my time at the Kearney Area Community Foundation.

Could anyone predict that this would be the ending experience for 2020 graduates? No. But, it takes sacrifice and dedication to grow great people, and I believe that those who are graduating in 2020, whether they are leaving high school or college, will overcome this isolation. We will come out stronger together.

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    Elizabeth ShipleyApr 24, 2020 at 10:06 am

    Very well said.