Illustration by Alyssa Maziarz
How has coronavirus affected me? I’ll start with school being canceled. The news broke right before my communication senior seminar class. I had a group presentation scheduled at 2:15 p.m. that Tuesday, and my group met at the Taylor Hall computer lab at 1:45 p.m. to practice our presentation. Since it was the communication computer lab, it was quite chatty, and when a girl announced that school was officially canceled, everyone was talking. There was a feeling of elation mixed with panic and disbelief.
My group could no longer focus on our presentation, and we figured we would not be presenting anyway, so we sat there and conversed until class started. When it did, it seemed like the class was very excited. Being seniors means senioritis and a strong desire to do as little schoolwork as possible, so it was an exciting prospect to not present and to be done with classes. Our professor talked to us for a while, and it was a fun atmosphere, but I also remember thinking, “Wow, this is my last time in a college classroom.”
Eventually my professor dismissed us with full credit for our presentations that we didn’t present, and I ecstatically called my mom, saying, “This sucks in a lot of ways, but now I can finally come visit you!” She was happy, and I was looking forward to it so much. Unfortunately, this virus ended up being such a curveball, and it did not end up happening.
In addition to visiting my mom who I hadn’t seen in a while, I was planning to visit my brother who I hadn’t seen for even longer. He studied abroad in Italy for a semester and currently is in drug/mental health treatment. I wanted to visit him so bad, but my mom called me and gave me some terrible news: “Your brother isn’t allowed any visitors because of coronavirus. I’m dropping some stuff off for him today, and then I’m not allowed to come back.” In addition, she told me, “Don’t come to New York. It’s probably going to be locked down, and you’ll be trapped in our small apartment with me and Michael.” Michael is my stepdad and being trapped with them would be a nightmare.
My only other option besides being trapped in Kent would be to go to Florida to be with my grandparents with the prospect of my mom visiting soon after. This was clearly the best option, so I jumped on it. On March 15th, I left for Florida.
I am currently there now for the foreseeable future. My return ticket is for the end of March, but who knows what will happen? I miss my mom and brother and dog, but I am grateful to be with my grandparents and in Florida where the weather is nice, and I can swim and be outside all day. Everyone in my family seems to be healthy, and that is a huge blessing. I hope as Americans, we can do what is necessary to put an end to this crisis and return to normal as soon as possible.
Jason Cohen is a senior public communication major with a minor in psychology. This is his first semester with The Burr and unfortunately his last due to the fact that he will be graduating in May. He has a great passion for media and is extremely grateful for the opportunity to finally work in student media.