Eastern New Mexico University Students Cope with Coronavirus Crisis


Students expect to be stressed in the weeks leading up to and during midterms, but after submitting that last exam, it’s time to relax through spring break and gear up for the second half of the semester. This spring, that hasn’t been the case. With the coronavirus hitting the United States during spring break at Eastern New Mexico University, the weeks following midterms seem to have been more stressful than midterms themselves for most college students.

As spring break was extended from March 13 through March 23, students were faced with decisions and uncertainty in their post spring break plans. When the announcement was sent out that classes would be online for the remainder of the semester, many students headed back to their families. Others stayed in Portales, but with the social distancing order and self-quarantine restrictions, students have been following those rules and making minimal trips outside of their homes. That’s been the game plan for Jonathan Elkins.

“I generally only go out for groceries, or to walk my dog,” he said. Getting outside for fresh air while continuing to practice the six foot social distancing rule has been a popular route to take in curbing the rising cabin fever.

Gaming has been another popular option for a distraction from the stress of the coronavirus situation. Board games have resurfaced for entertainment, and video games and computer games are played even more than normal. Kiley Martinez says that since her work was closed, she’s been on administrative leave, which has been a little difficult.

“I’ve mostly been just taking it day by day, gaming more than anything,” she mentioned. Like Elkins, she also elected to stay in Portales rather than leaving to stay with relatives.

Some students have been thankful to see classes start online, giving them something productive to focus on. Zack Santos is one of those students, since he said he had been mostly just hanging out at home before classes started back up. He’s also been spending more time playing with his dog.

“Fortunately with today’s day and age I’m able to keep up with all my friends and family through group chats and other social media platforms to aid with the lack of social interaction during this time of social distancing,” said Santos.

While social media does help with keeping in contact, it won’t quite replace graduation ceremonies for students like Santos, who is set to graduate in May. While he will still receive his degree, the celebration won’t be the same without walking across the stage and being able to celebrate in person with other graduates and family members.

“When I first got the news I was pretty devastated,” Santos said. “However, I understand the reasoning behind the cancellation or postponement and support the preventative measures our administration is taking to keep our community and guests safe and healthy.”

While most students are struggling in some way with the inability to be on campus, many are doing their best to do their part to keep the spread of the coronavirus at a minimum, and are looking forward to returning to live classes when it is possible.

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  Eastern New  Mexico University's student publication of The Chase is a member of the Associated Collegiate Press.

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