The COVID-19 pandemic has caused Eastern New Mexico University students to completely transition to online classes. At a school where many students balance their schoolwork load with a part-time or full-time job, many ENMU students are accustomed to facing hard work and struggles, but that is not to say that there have not been difficult adjustments.
“I've been missing my family a lot during the last few weeks,” said Jonathan Elkins, a senior at ENMU majoring in public relations. With the stay-at-home order being extended to April 30, Elkins will likely not be able to see his family for some time yet. However, he has remained optimistic despite the challenges. “I think that it's worth staying in to keep everyone safe. It's important for everyone to stay strong, especially with quarantine lasting so long. It's vital that we protect ourselves.” Elkins encouraged students to stay busy and creative as much as possible during quarantine, in order to not become discouraged and stay on top of their studies during these unprecedented times.
For Sarah Jackson, a junior majoring in social studies with an emphasis in history, transitioning to all online classes has not come without challenges. “Not going to lie, 18 hours’ worth of classes makes it pretty difficult to work and get assignments completed.” However, she observed that her professors have been accommodating, and have made themselves available whenever she has needed assistance. Jackson, who has been back at home since the campus closed, has a unique perspective on life in quarantine. Her parents live on and work a large ranch – a significant distance from the nearest town. While the rest of the world has seemingly come to stand still, life on a ranch is still full of work and daily responsibilities, as is the situation with the majority of jobs in agriculture, which have been deemed essential during this time. “We still do everything we would do on a normal day-to-day basis,” said Jackson. But the shutdowns have affected their ability to do this as efficiently as before. “My mom and I cook for a big crew, but we are not able to provide them with meals because we can not buy in bulk. It has really been an eye-opening experience to be living through this pandemic.” Jackson encouraged everyone to stay inside as much as possible in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Some students were more accustomed to a full load of online classes going into the transition, one of these being ENMU junior Grif White, who is majoring in broadcast journalism and broadcast production. “This semester, I was already switched to mostly online classes so I could have more time to work; so it's been a breeze.” White suggested that students consider building an office space to work in from home so that their time in quarantine can be productive, instead of a setback. “Quarantine has been good for me because I am still able to work from home in my studio.” Although he wishes that the quarantine period had not been extended, White has taken it all in stride. “I'm just taking it with an attitude of gratitude and hoping it helps us all realize how good we truly have it.”