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College Life in The Pandemic's New Normal: Finding an Upside

Mitch Meyers is a journalism student at Kent State University

Ohio college students just finished a spring semester that was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. In early March, schools stopped in-person classes and switched to remote learning, upending campus life. A Kent State University journalism class spent the week after Spring Break recording diaries about their experience. For Mitch Meyers, it was all about finding an upside.

Trying to focus
It's been quite the year and a crazy March. It's really quiet here. I'm basically all alone in my apartment. I started Tiger King on Netflix, which is a crazy documentary about people owning tigers and big cats, and the people who own these big cats are literally insane. You have to be insane to own a tiger, but when you own over 200 of them, that's pretty crazy. It's an interesting documentary, and I know I'm going to be watching a lot of Netflix in this time.

It's really hard for me to focus, especially on homework since it's all online. I never really liked taking online classes because I know I can't create a schedule and put aside a couple hours a day to focus. I've always struggled with that, and now that I have to be at home, it's really difficult. 

Looking for the upside
It's the last day of March and what an unbelievable month it's been. I have been outside mainly to just let my dog out. But when I walk outside, I have the urge to go straight back inside because it's gray, 40 degrees, raining and muddy. What is there to look forward to outside? If you can look at any bright sides, people are making the best of being inside and connecting with our families and connecting to who we have. This situation has forced me to try to find the upsides. 

I can't think of one right now.

I think it's really important that while we're in this time, other people have their family or those they live with. I told myself I would come back to Kent because I can't focus at home on my schoolwork. It’s the best choice for me, but it sucks. It's been a struggle for me to find an upside, but I'm working on it.

Every day is just another day.

Days are going slower and hopefully this will be over sooner than people are saying because in latest reports, health officials are thinking June. I don't think I can last until June, if I'm going to be honest.

"I did my best throughout these times to find the good and the positive when there's a lot of negative out there."

Getting outside
Today was an amazing day outside. The sun was out all day, and I'm seeing people on Snapchat and social media posting themselves outside. I knew today was a good time to go out and walk my dog. So we went to the Portage trail and walked a part of it, just a mile to kind of get a feel for it. It was a little chilly, but after a little bit of the walk it felt just perfect, and I was only wearing a hoodie. After a couple of storms, the river was really high. It was only a foot away from the sidewalk. Luckily, it wasn't covering the sidewalk so we could actually walk! Hopefully the weather goes up from here. 

The day kind of flew by, and I'm happy about that. I'm happy that days are going fast, and I'm just trying to find more ways to make my day fly because the longer the day is, the harder it is for me to get through this entire time. Thank God it's Friday tomorrow, but I don't think at this point we could tell a week day from a weekend. They're all the same. It's just another day.

Learning lessons and setting goals
It stinks being alone, but I learned a lot about myself this week, mostly because I've been by myself for the whole time. At the beginning of the week, it was gray skies and that just sucked. The last couple of days have been amazing, and I've been able to get outside and walk by the Cuyahoga River into downtown Kent. Many others were out, too. The river was peaceful to listen to especially with a gentle breeze. And even though my dog likes to tug a lot, it was still pretty relaxing.

My goal is to make days go as fast as possible, which means I need to get up and start doing things, and I need to get off my phone. Time goes so slow when you're just on your phone all day, and you're just sitting on the couch. It's a crazy life we're living in and during this time, I'm 21 years old and I'm graduating college. I'm supposed to be starting my career in May. I can't get anybody to reply to any applications. But when you think about a lot of other professions where businesses are fighting to stay afloat and trying to find ways to make a little bit of money and not lose money, they're not going to be thinking about hiring people. That's just really heartbreaking for a lot of graduating seniors. Hopefully it can get better. That's all we can hope for.

Hopefully tomorrow they say, “We found a cure everyone, and we can get out of this.” Until then, I'll be here in my house doing what I can to make the time fly. I did my best throughout these times to find the good and the positive when there's a lot of negative out there. I hope I found that in myself and I was able to portray that.