As if navigating classes and peer relationships in school isn't challenging enough, we've had to do it while going through a global pandemic. We empathize with all the students out there!

2020 has definitely been a year for the history books, and it’s still only June. While COVID-19 has affected everyone and everything, let’s talk about some things students have had to deal with: 

1. Zoom University


Ah yes. The slow decline of using your camera in class, the insufferable backgrounds people choose when they do have their cameras on, and not participating in discussions at all but saying “thank you” at the end of class in order to get your participation points… what’s not to love? Shout out to those who slid into someone’s Zoom Private Messages, fell asleep during the Zoom call, or just stopped going to class all together.

Zoom classes were no easy task, especially if you live in an environment that made learning difficult, or had terrible internet connection for the whole semester/quarter. Despite these circumstances, you did it! You made it through, and you should be really proud of yourself.

2. Missing the homies


Since school was moved online or just straight up cancelled, you might not have been able to say a proper goodbye to your friends the last time you saw them. You might not even remember the last time you saw your friends because the change was so sudden. If you miss your friends, scheduling group FaceTime calls, playing, or writing letters is a good, safe way to stay connected.

(I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’ll throw on some music and dream about the next time we can all be together (hopefully soon!), and I feel a little bit better. Unless that song is “Ribs” by Lorde or “Rivers and Roads” by The Head and The Heart… then I just cry.)

3. Somehow you’ve never been worse at texting back


Everyone is coping with quarantine and social distancing differently. Even if your screen time has jumped to 14 hours a day, it might have taken you about a month to properly respond to a text message the same day you received it.

Just know that for the most part, people aren’t ignoring you (unless they are), they’re just handling this new type of communication a bit differently than you—and that’s okay! Give people time and space to heal and get comfortable, and let your friends know that you’re always here for them. If you still don’t have the capacity to reach out, take it one step at a time.

4. Not being able to cook, but being able to bake


You went from practically living off of Trader Joe’s Chicken Tikka Masala frozen meals to having to do all of the cooking for yourself—and you realized you’re terrible at it. But after seeing Instagram story after story of banana bread, muffins, bread, and cookies, you realized that maybe, just maybe, you could live off of sweets and carbs for the rest of your life? Right?

Quarantine has definitely brought out the inner baker in us all. Now if you could only find the flour...

5. Hearing “the new normal,” “unprecedented times,” and “I know this isn’t the senior year you wanted/how you expected this year to go” more than you want


These phrases are not reassuring in the slightest, and actually make you feel worse. Let’s move on from these phrases please and thank you.

6. Living with your family again


You do love being home, but this isn’t the way you wanted to go back.

Pros: Quality family time, not having to pay for laundry, no rent, possibly no roommates.

Cons: Little independence, lack of control over your own schedule, possibly more roommates, and being shamed by your mom for going to sleep at 4 am.

All jokes aside, be nice to your family and enjoy this time you have together!

7. Instagram stories and Tik Tok Challenges


Drawing a fruit chain, Dalgona coffee, Savage Challenge; even if you didn’t partake in these, you were forced to see them all over your feed. 

8. Who remembers places? Things? Wearing normal clothes?


Quarantine definitely gives us a lot of time to reflect, and maybe you’ve recently been reminiscing about your walk to campus and the people and buildings you saw along the way. Or maybe you’re making a list of all the things you want to do and restaurants you want to eat at after shelter in place is lifted. OR MAYBE you get dressed everyday just to feel something just to go back to wearing the same set of pajamas for four days in a row.

Whatever your quarantine reflection looks like, remember to stay safe out there once we’re able to go out again, and continue to practice social distancing! 

9. Finally being able to catch up on all of the TV shows you haven’t had time for, but not knowing what to start first


So much time, but so little time… Do you want to watch something sad, happy, intense, or mindless? Maybe you’ll just go back to watching YouTube videos again –– this is too much commitment.

10. Euphoria production being halted


Totally a First World Problem, but when you found out that Euphoria got picked up for a second season just for production to stop one week in… you gasped. The same delay goes for every TV show and movie currently in production, so it might be a while until we see the return of our faves to the silver screen. 

11. Missing your favorite overpriced coffee shop on campus


The smell of coffee and your “usual” drink sounds really, really good right about now. What have you been doing to fill this void? Keurig, AeroPress, French press, instant coffee—maybe you’ve even become a tea person during quarantine—hopefully you’ll be able to reunite with your favorite “study” spot very soon.

12. What is a normal sleep schedule


Moving home means new timezones, and unlimited time to do whatever you want. Some classmates in different countries are staying up until 6 am for class, but you might have no excuse.

Somehow your sleep schedule got messed up along the way and every night goes a little something like this: You wake up at 5 pm, eat breakfast (which is actually dinner), and do whatever you’ve been doing to pass the time until suddenly it’s bright outside and birds are chirping. Then you go to sleep at 7 am and repeat this schedule.

If anyone questions why you’re sleeping all day and waking up just before sunset, just tell them that your internal clock is set to Japan time.

13. Only being able to put your time and energy into one thing, but that one thing isn’t school (oops)


(Anyone else getting into their 3rd K-pop group this quarantine? No? Just me?)

Whatever you’re putting your energy into, be kind to yourself. It’s okay to take breaks and let yourself enjoy whatever it is you’re doing! While we had big hopes for our online classes, we found out that they’re just hard and unengaging, motivation is at an all-time low, and you barely have enough energy to make it through the day without a nap.

You are resilient and amazing, don’t beat yourself up about this.

14. Taking part in the revolution no matter where you are


It’s been amazing to see how much people can do and contribute to Black Lives Matter with just a phone and internet connection. If you are unable to physically protest due to health reasons, many people have compiled lists of ways you can take action without leaving your house. Maybe take this newfound quarantine time to sign petitions, read a book, or stream a YouTube video as a means of donating.


15. Graduation


So… what now? Everyone (and I mean your family members) has been constantly asking you “What are you doing after this?” despite the unemployment rate being at its highest it’s been in years, the companies you want to work for either are 1. Not hiring 2. Openly racist 3. Rescinding offers, and video interviewing is really not something you want to think about right now. Also the thought of checking your LinkedIn makes you want to close your computer for a couple of days, so you just don’t.

Take a step back. It’s okay to feel like you don’t know what’s going on—nobody does. Do the best you can given the circumstances! Everyone is still trying to figure things out right now, you’re not alone.

That being said, graduation is a huge accomplishment and you should allow yourself to celebrate. Congratulations to the Class of 2020, you should be extremely proud of yourself and all that you’ve accomplished in your four years. Good luck to everyone still in school as well, you got this!

Dear 5844

Sometimes I wonder, if I was able to do it all for you, if some magic twist of fate gave me the power to take your place in that camp all those years ago, would I do it? To live in a barn infested with termites, to shed my Japanese name and tongue, to live a life of uncertainty, would I be able to do it all if it meant I could meet you and call you Grandpa?


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A Student's Guide to Organizing a Day of Remembrance

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To my younger self: A semester into college, here’s what I know!

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