Posted on: April 8, 2020 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By Nathaly Duenas

JRN 111 and COM 151 Student

Noor Kasem planned to walk across the stage at graduation this spring and feel the sense of accomplishment from all her hard work.

Thanks to isolation, quarantine, and lockdown—our new reality—she won’t get the chance.

“Being one of the many graduates this year to miss the ceremony makes me feel extremely sad,” said Kasem, a secondary education major and a student employee in the Registration and Records office.

“Having it being cancelled sort of takes away the sense of accomplishment. It makes me empathize with other graduates around the world.”

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected lives everywhere as people around the country and around the world take extreme measures to stop the spread of this pandemic and “flatten the curve.” 

Students at Moraine Valley each have their own stories of loss and struggles with what this pandemic is causing them to miss out on, from graduation ceremonies to visiting sick relatives to the simple human contact in their face-to-face classes. They are all struggling to accept this new normal and to take life as it comes.

Passionate art student Katelin Wheeler is missing out on attending her studio art classes at Moraine Valley and being able to visit her brother in the hospital. 

Wheeler recently changed her major to art because she truly finds herself in the subject. She is currently enrolled in Drawing I, Intro to Comp. Art, 2D Design, and Digital Photo.

Wheeler is missing the face-to-face contact with her classmates and professors. These art classes were an outlet for her to express her artistic abilities. It is much harder doing that online.

 “I finally pursued something that I really love and I feel like that experience was sort of stripped away,” said Wheeler. 

Wheeler’s younger brother has a heart condition that requires hospitalization. Until the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Wheeler would visit her brother every day. It is no longer safe for her and her family to visit her brother. Wheeler is adjusting by keeping virtual contact with her brother every day, but she is lacking that one-on-one contact that can ease the mind and soul. 

“I feel helpless and frustrated, especially knowing he is in a place where other people could have the virus, including doctors,” said Wheeler.

Carrying that constant worry is a terrible feeling for Wheeler.

“He is a high-risk person for contracting this virus,” she said. “If he were to get it I’m not even sure he’d recover well or even survive.” 

Besides her brother, Wheeler’s parents are at a high risk of contracting COVID-19. They both have compromised immune systems, so Wheeler is doing whatever she can to stop the spread. Wheeler is social distancing and washing her hands as often as she can. 

“This is why people need to take this pandemic seriously,” she says. “People think it isn’t a big deal but come to find out doctors have also died from it. Please take this seriously and do your part.”

COVID-19 has caused us to adjust to a new life that is heartbreaking and devastating for many. For some, the loss of face-to-face courses means lost motivation.

Lisa Paulauskas, 21, is an aspiring dental hygienist and full- time student who plans to graduate from Moraine Valley in summer 2020 with an associate in science. 

Paulauskas is having difficulty adjusting to online classes at Moraine Valley. She is accustomed to attending classes and finds that face-to-face contact with students and professors aids in her education.

“I miss being able to go to school on campus,” she said. “I have so many big assignments, I have lost motivation. Since I don’t have actual classes to attend, I sleep in and then I procrastinate.”

Paulauskas had plans to take a break from the stresses of her education and work, including a trip to Wisconsin to attend a concert of her favorite artists of all time, Ozuna. That event was cancelled, so she is making up for it by attending the concert in Chicago, but it will be more expensive. Paulauskas also had planned to go to Miami to attend a three-day music festival. From the looks of things, that will also get postponed. 

Paulauskas is adjusting to all these changes, working around them and trying to make the best out of it. 

“I am trying to keep myself distracted,” she said. “But it’s hard to feel motivated when you have nothing to look forward to.” 

However, she has plans to make up for lost time, and she has realized that our lives have a great deal of value. “I’m going to go to the gym. I am going to go out a lot, and not take things for granted.”

Nathaly Duenas can be reached at duenasn3@student.morainevalley.edu.