By Seyi Kaja-Gbadegesin, MPP Tutor
When I first heard about COVID-19, it was certainly not something to which I was giving much attention. Hey, it was seemingly causing some serious issues in China, but it would just blow over in a couple of weeks, maybe months, right? And I definitely didn’t expect it to make its way to the Americas, and even if it did, surely, we would be able to minimize any effects. I definitely didn’t think this virus would be the catalyst for an unforeseen standstill in the United States.
Well clearly, I was wrong. COVID-19 quickly moved from a foreign problem to a domestic catastrophe. Every aspect of American life was severely influenced by the birth of the global pandemic. Schools and universities around the country were forced, along with other institutions, into closing and switches to remote forms of function. My college announced a shift to online instruction for 2 weeks following our spring break following the break and subsequently they extended that to the end of the semester. I was essentially evicted out of on- campus housing and had to move back home. At times, it was hard to even believe how much changed in such a short period of time. I was personally devastated as everything was starting to look up for me at college; my grades were improving considerately; I had made multiple new friendships, developed a ton of connections and I was pursuing a major that I felt truly reflected my passion. COVID-19 did its best to put a dent in my progress. But, in any situation that life puts you in, you have to try and adapt. I hope my adjustments and updated approaches can help any parents, teachers or students who are reading this.
I was one of the few people that hoped there would be fast and effective reaction from the US government in managing the pandemic. Because of that, I stubbornly delayed my departure from my college dormitory believing the university would reopen in the near future. I had trouble accepting a return to my life at home. Even when I returned, it was a huge struggle. Being home felt like a holiday I didn’t want. The first week of classes were a struggle as I wasn’t able to commit and focus to this new way of learning. I am a very hands-on type of
learner and “Zoom University” was just not ideal for me. I really needed some kind of kick to get going in this new and uncomfortable academic climate and I was lucky enough to get one.
I had a one on one conversation with my Ancient Greek Drama professor after I had missed the deadline for a couple of assignments. She was extremely kind and patient with me; she explained that she understood the stress and pressure of the situation. I realized she had it a lot worse than me: she was a professor who lived in Europe and the virus forced her to move back temporarily to take care of her family. You can only imagine the stress of dealing with that as well as redesigning her curriculum to adapt to a remote format in a class with over 20 people. Our conversation helped to give me perspective and gave me a burst of energy to find solutions and better approaches that would take me back to an optimal level of academic performance.
And it all started with an acceptance that while these circumstances were not ideal, there was so much I could do to make the best of it.
Changing my mindset was one of the most important moves I made. I learned to accept my situation would most likely not change anytime soon, but also accept that my situation would not last forever. I convinced myself to apply myself as diligently as possible knowing that eventually, there would be some return to normality. I slowly stopped thinking about the negatives of quarantine and more about the positives. Now, I had all this free time at home to practice new skills, read more books and of course stay attentive to my coursework. I decided to try and treat this time as a period for self-reflection and self-improvement. I hoped to look back on the experience as very much beneficial in my development as a college student. And so far, my shift has helped me greatly both academically and personally.
Another venture I have pursued during the pandemic is spending more time with my grandparents who are my legal guardians. I moved away from parents about 4 years ago to live with them, but our relationship has never been anything more than that of acquaintances. During high school, I was always busy, and my grandparents were still working, there was never really any time for us to spend together. With all of us holed into the house now, we have all the time in the world to speak and develop a much tighter bond. It’s something that has come from both sides as my grandparents have also made an effort to communicate more. I highly doubt there would have ever been a more ideal time for us to work on our connection.
Keeping in contact with my friends has also been of great importance. We can’t go outside and hangout as we regularly would, but we’ve been creative in finding ways to spend time together online. My friends and I have been regular users of Zoom in creating virtual hangouts (it’s not only useful for class!) We’ve also been able to find multiple websites and applications that allow us to sync and watch movies and TV shows together, (sites such as Netflix Party, Kast and TwoSeven have been prominent.) I was worried that it would be extremely difficult keeping in contact with friends, but it has been almost a breeze thanks to the creativity of the internet.
As a college student working as a tutor for My Private Professor (MPP), I truly understand and empathize with any struggles any student or tutor may be experiencing in these times. It has been a challenging few months, to say the least. I’m comforted in the knowledge that a strong organization such as MPP is dedicating its resources to ensuring this time is as educationally enriching as can be.
While the global pandemic has been a huge disruption to just about everything it could possibly affect, I have been able to find multiple ways to fight through it as an individual and ways to make the best of the situation. In terms of progression of the youth, I think it’s an extremely defining period in which there can be a lot of positives that can outweigh the negatives. I’m personally more excited than anyone for the pandemic to lose its strength but until it does, what other option do we have than to adapt to it? I hope my approach helps anyone that’s reading. And please stay safe! Wear a mask!
Seyi Kaja-Gbadegesin is a tutor at My Private Professor, which provides individualized online & in-person tutoring to students in all subjects, including K-12 math, science, language arts, history, foreign language, AP exams, test prep, essays, & college counseling, by top tutors from top universities. www.myprivateprofessor.com