Two years, too many


Emily Dvareckas/The Hawks' Herald

Students have found the past two years extremely difficult because of the pandemic.

It has officially been two years since our spring break had been drastically extended. Or, in other words, since the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic and we were sent into multiple lockdowns. Roger Williams University, like many other colleges, switched to working remotely, and eventually created regulations to allow a safe transition to in-person classes.

After two long years and many vaccines later, the mask mandate is slowly being lifted. The hopeful road ahead is uplifting, but that does not erase the stress the pandemic has, nor does it retrieve what has been taken away as a result.

“I am tired of having a pandemic affect my education and daily life so much,” said senior Arden Hyte. “Although the situation is not nearly as isolating as it was before, I still kept having multiple experiences canceled due to COVID-related issues.”

Most college students have lost many opportunities due to COVID. Hyte stated, “I have had multiple study abroad opportunities canceled, and socially, my college life is starkly different than that of my brothers and previous graduates.”

On top of this loss, the way students operate, not only in classrooms but in public has changed. From remembering to wear a mask to being hyper-aware around others created newfound anxiety. Even the slightest hint of a cold can create an internal panic.

As a result, clubs and organizations have struggled.

“It’s been very difficult, especially as an org,” said Jesahias Quiroa, President of the Multicultural Student Union at RWU. Quiroa explained how the pandemic hindered members from attending meetings and events, which were sometimes eventually canceled.

Planning events have provided more obstacles than ever before.

“We have to accommodate for everything,” Quiroa said. “If we want to bring food, it has to come individually wrapped or we can’t have it at all. Even just asking for more money, like, ‘Well, for this last event, you only had a couple people, so why should we give you more money budget-wise?’”

Despite the number of fun events on campus, COVID has limited the number of attendees. However, Quiroa is optimistic about the future with COVID on the decline.

In terms of the regulations RWU has mandated in response to the pandemic, the reviews are mostly positive, but there are some critiques.

“Certainly there are aspects that could have been improved more quickly and that even now need adjustments, but for the most part, they are reasonable to the situation at hand,” Hyte said.

Meanwhile, senior Cameron Ferreira stated, “It feels like it’s just all disorganized with when and where we are supposed to mask, when and where we don’t have to, how close contacts and positive cases are treated — it feels all over the place without a clear direction.”

Quiroa believes that RWU is also doing a good job in maintaining COVID, especially in terms of required vaccinations. However, he points out confusing details, such as how RWU is removing the mask mandate directly after spring break instead of waiting.

As for how other students and professors are handling the pandemic, the general consensus is that most people are taking these matters seriously. For instance, most students are respectful about wearing their masks properly, and many professors have reportedly been more lenient.

Quiroa also praises his MSU eboard and general staff members for their hard work during this time. Quiroa stated, “I really can’t commend them any more for getting involved and really helping.”

It is important to continue supporting each other, especially now more than ever.

Hyte stated, “Tragedy after tragedy keeps occurring, and current students seem to be bearing the brunt of it all despite having to be functioning people at the end of this.”

After two years of studying and working on top of surviving a pandemic, it is no wonder students are exhausted. While they should be proud of persevering, it is a lot to ask for students — or anyone, for that matter — to continuously overwork themselves during immensely stressful times.