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Here’s how COVID-19 has impacted young adults’ lives

In the span of a few weeks, COVID-19, or coronavirus, has impacted the lives of many people of all ages. We asked our young advocates across the country how their lives have been impacted in the past month. Here’s what they shared with us:

1. This crisis has shown the inequities and disparities in our country
“Now is the time to be mindful of each other, of our existence, and work together as a community to protect each other by doing what is right by staying home and taking precautions.

This crisis has shown the inequalities and disparities of who has the right to certain resources such as health care, social services, etc.” – Lisa Nishimura,  John Jay College 

2. We are silent carriers
“Millennials think that since the death rate for our age group is one of lowest, we are immune. However, we are the greatest risk to the community as we are silent carriers.” – Alisha Khanna, University of Colorado Boulder

3. Don’t forget about student parents
“Student parents are looking at alternative methods, since many daycares are closing. Parents have to call off work because they have no one to watch their child. Nowadays, hiring nannies is very questionable due to past cases of child abuse and neglect. A bill should be put in place for student parents to have child care because that will offer some relief and show children are a priority.” – Jane Andrews, DePaul University

4. Listen to students’ needs
“What accommodations should be made, and how should these accommodations be carried out? The answer is simple: the best academic and health care support comes from a willingness to listen to students’ needs in the first place and their comments on what should be done.” – Anh Nguyentran, University of California, Los Angeles

5. Mental health is just as important as physical health
“The mental health stress that is being put on people is also of concern, a lot of people are in isolation even when they are not quarantined. I would suggest that people call people they trust to talk to on a regular basis. Opening up about mental health struggles helps to diminish the stigma along with creating opportunity for a support network to blossom.” – Rebecca Turner, Community College of Denver

6. Productivity is hard
“I feel this forced-isolation has made me less productive than how I was and how I’m supposed to be, having to juggle both my personal mental health and focusing on my education while at the same time looking over my high-risk parents’ (especially my mom’s) day-to-day needs and actual physical attention.” – Romy Robielos II, New York City College of Technology, CUNY

7. The people we should be talking about
“The working class, people like me, the people that are most often left out of conversations, are the people that are going to be hit the hardest by the coronavirus…I think about all the people that have to file for unemployment because they are not deemed an essential employee. I think about how “essential employees” have been fighting for a livable wage, and until now they have been seen as “low skill” employees that aren’t worthy of $15 an hour. I think about all the undocumented migrant farmers that are feeding America, while most people are at home during self quarantine.” – Katalina Garcia, Community College of Denver

8. Pressing pause on my path to a stable future
“As a young adult who has had their life shifted and uprooted in a number of ways, the last place I expected it to happen again was my educational, and young adult life, during my last semester of college when I finally felt like things were coming together. Things like graduating as a first-generation student, applying for jobs to ensure financial security after I finish my last semester, and overall creating a pathway to a stable future for myself has been put on pause, and as of right now, no one really knows what is going to happen next.” – Lyric Young, City College of New York

9. College student are missing on-campus resources
“I believe that colleges should have free testing for students that are still on campus, because they wont be getting the services they paid for since campuses are getting shut down, so the least the campuses can do for the student is give them free testing.” Tomi Gbolabo, University of Houston

10. Use your voice, the future is ours
“If I can share any hope in the most challenging of times for young adults, I would say that our anger and fear is not something to incite helplessness, but instead something to organize upon and lead the way for change. Young people often forget that their voices matter, that their voices are the difference we must advocate for, the future is ours. No one is alone, we are more than our fears.” – Elena DeNecochea, University of California, Davis

11. Protect yourself and others
“I advise other young adults to protect themselves and others and take precaution. During this time of “being still,” we can practice mindfulness, learn something about ourselves, pick up a hobby, exercise, read, play games, help out a loved one, enjoy family, and never take life for granted. How we handle this shows our trajectory as a nation. Please take this quarantine time seriously.” – Marissa Epps, Chicago State University

12. Everything is up in the air
“There is uncertainty in the air and there are no clear steps forward, but we can rise above this and do our part. This pandemic has uncovered inequity and inadequate social safety nets, but it gives me hope and encouragement that change is possible. There are many questions and we can help answer them. We can lead as individuals by simply taking care of ourselves through being mindful, going out less, and being moderate with our purchases.” – Justine Ventura Mejia, graduate of University of California, Berkely

13. Students are concerned about their future
“I think it is incredibly important that our colleges are aware of the mental toll and stress that could result from the combination of social isolation and a rapid transformation of our educational system. We are heading into uncharted waters, and it would be an understatement to say that many students are very concerned about their future.” Nickoli Benkhert, University of Texas