In March, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, closing down the country, including schools and many businesses. The pandemic hit while Eastern New Mexico University was on spring break; while initially the break was just extended for a week, it turned into finishing the semester at home. The pandemic rapidly changed the lives of everyone, making classes more challenging for both students and teachers.
Alexis Olmos, a science major who started at ENMU in January of this year, only got to spend a couple of months as a student on campus before the pandemic. When the pandemic first hit, Alexis said she “wasn’t very scared of it” because she knew that following the precautions like wearing a mask and washing her hands often would help protect her. However, she worried about how this would affect school and her job. As for school closing, Alexis said she knew “online classes are not [her] strong suit.” After switching to online classes, she “became really nervous about [her] GPA,” because she feels better suited for in-class work. Also, Alexis felt that trying to complete the labs that go along with her science classes became more challenging. A couple of things she did like about online classes were being able to work at her own pace and going back to her normal work schedule.
Alexis works in a dentist office and was worried not only that her job would be affected but her boss’s and coworkers’ jobs as well. She works at a private practice, so she worried that the pandemic would hit them harder. The American Dental Association only allowed the office to see two patients a day for a while, but they have now been able to see patients regularly again.
When the pandemic hit, her day-to-to life changed completely. Alexis feels that this pandemic caused her to both gain and lose some independence. She gained independence by becoming more “responsible than [she] was before as far as keeping up with [her] assignments.” However, Alexis also felt that she lost some independence, because she became more reliant on her professors to make sense of what was going on in the classes. After the classes were switched to online, Alexis said it made her feel more alone, because she didn’t get to see or talk to the people that she had before every day. Also, none of her classes had zoom meetings, so there were no interactions with anyone else in class.
Alexis Olmos is a biology major at ENMU and would like to go into the healthcare field after graduation. She is planning to attend dental school after completing her bachelor’s degree. Alexis is expecting to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in December 2022.