Our Austin, Texas Young Advocates shared their feelings surrounding COVID-19 and how it has impacted their lives.
“My mental health took a hit during the COVID-19 outbreak and it only got worse as it went on. I thrive on being social and going out and talking to people, but now I’m stuck by myself for most of the day.
Not only have I not been able to be with family recently, but now that classes have moved online, I’m not able to see most of my friends and classmates until next semester. The COVID-19 pandemic hit much closer to home than I thought it ever would and now it’s just a waiting game.” – Emma Bittner, University of Texas student
“I live with 3 roommates with various work situations, and we worry about paying our bills and rent. Our landlord has said nothing to us about the entire coronavirus situation, and we fear that if we can’t make ends meet, we may have to cover for each other or even end our lease.
Both [my girlfriend and I] have continuing student loan payments that we will have to make despite our precarious financial situations and we both consider ourselves lucky.” – Evan Jordan, Young Advocate, Austin
“I look toward the government in times like these and believe they will fight for the betterment of humanity. I hope that we all can come together and work to help each other out in this uncertainty. So many questions come to my mind amongst this chaos. How will people survive if they can’t work? How will seniors graduating this year get jobs if we are headed towards a recession? Will college students be granted the proper education they paid for if we switch to online platforms?” – Karishma Cordero, University of Texas student
“It is my hope that federal aid can be administered to all schools to provide students with access to the Internet, an updated computer system to take their classes, and other resources depending on the students’ needs. It is also my hope that any class be able to change to pass/fail.
Before, the hardest thing about attending in-person class was getting up in the morning. Most professors would make announcements of when the next assignment is due or when the test date is, the professors answered questions during lecture, and there are usually office hours or tutoring opportunities to take advantage of on campus. Moving to online classes, though, these resources will be limited.” – Mikayla Mondragon, University of Texas student
“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.
My family and I are thankfully covered by health insurance, which is comforting to know as we enter this COVID-19 pandemic, but this a luxury that is also not afforded to every American. It is more clear than ever that access to health care needs to be guaranteed to every citizen, as we are currently in a situation in which people are hesitant to seek testing for COVID-19 because they are unsure if they can afford to. The high costs of health care and the lack of insurance coverage for many Americans pose grave threats to our nation’s capacity to respond to this pandemic. No one should be afraid to seek medical help, especially during a global event like this.” – Nickoli Benkhert, University of Texas student
“I have found myself having to make extremely difficult decisions lately such as not going to one of my closest friends’ birthday dinners and having uncomfortable conversations with my co-workers regarding social-distancing and personal hygiene at work. If my job refuses to have us work remotely before this pandemic gets any worse, I will seriously consider resigning from my current position — not because I want to, but because no amount of money can be justified in place of my mom’s life.” – Sofia Pratt, Austin Community College student
“As a young adult looking to start my career, the response taken by my state, local government, and university have all been reactionary. This has led to massive amounts of fear in my household, friend groups, and me personally.
Although the virus is frightening and damaging many lives, the unpreparedness of the administrations in charge of dealing with such issues has struck a bone in my life. I feel as if the elderly in my life like my grandmother and grandfather are being sacrificed due to a lack of forethought.” – Luis Babiak, St. Edward’s University student