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College Students Coping with the COVID-19 Health Crisis | #WeBelongInCollege Stories

Last updated June 24, 2024

College students throughout the country dealt with extraordinary challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch these #WeBelongInCollege stories from students about how they continued to work toward their educational goals.

Zakiyat’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Like many students, Zakiyat started college during the COVID pandemic. When classes resumed in-person, Zakiyat found it hard to stay focused and create connections with her professors and TAs, but thanks to the support of her family and friends, she found resources on campus that could help her adjust.

Serena’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

There is nothing more inspiring than someone who is in the midst of their own struggles and chooses to dedicate themselves to help others. Serena shares her story to help others who are in the same situation.

Eva’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Eva was frustrated with this situation but has stayed positive and gave advice she wanted us to hear: “We’ve just got to keep pushing through this. We all need to focus on our mental health and keep doing what we can to stay safe and healthy.”

Amber's #WeBelongInCollege Story

Returning home from college and figuring out how to focus on her studies and stay healthy was a challenge for Amber. Now she has some advice to share: “Get on a schedule! Everyone’s saying it because it works!”

Enoch’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Like many students throughout the country, Enoch struggled to adapt to online learning and physical distancing. In his story, he shares one coping strategy that helped him get through this crisis.

Karoline's #WeBelongInCollege Story

Karoline was grateful that her college let her stay in her dorm, but found social distancing to be tough. Karoline constantly worried about her family members who were sick, but through it all, she found self-care strategies that helped her persist through the pandemic.

Rita's #WeBelongInCollege Story

Rita struggled to stay positive after having to abruptly leave college during her second semester. Like most students, her life was upended by COVID-19. Both she and her mother lost their jobs and could no longer afford their home. While she didn't know what the future held, there was one thing she was certain about: that she belonged in college. 

Kylee’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Kylee was doing well in her classes when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. She lost her job when she had to go back home. Without her salary, she wasn’t sure if she would be able to pay for her tuition. And yet, she still persisted!

Victoria’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

"When I graduated high school, I was absolutely excited. I was accepted as a civil engineering major, accepted into the marching band, and I was ready to explore all the opportunities a prestigious school like UCLA could offer me. I knew it was going to be a difficult transition and that it would take more work than high school did, but I couldn’t understand how unprepared I was until I got there. Going in, I was proud to be a first-generation college student and sought to use my time as a college student to gather information and tips that would be useful for my younger siblings to know once they got to that point in their lives. Now that I was there, I felt more out-of-place than anything. While the classes were enjoyable, I was behind most of my peers academically. Even with all the time I felt that I was putting in, I struggled to understand what seemed to be easy concepts for so many others. The more I thought about it, the more this weighed down on me. I hit my lowest point towards the end of winter quarter. I was emotionally and mentally drained, tired, and struggled to feel motivated as I worried more and more if my academic career would continue to go as badly as it had thus far. My mental well-being was further knocked down by the whispers of the pandemic and rumors of what administration would decide to do if it got any worse. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry once I found out UCLA would be transitioning to remote learning for spring. I desperately wanted to be, to put it bluntly, good at school; I wondered how I would even have the chance to improve in the upcoming quarter if I would be at home. Still, I knew if I didn’t at least try, I would continue to feel as if I wasn’t good enough. While remote learning proved difficult as I continued my fight for motivation while fulfilling my academic responsibilities and my responsibilities as the oldest sibling. I learned that sticking to a schedule and keeping my mind engaged with academics and passion projects worked wonders to keep myself motivated. Little by little, I become more engaged with my learning. Little by little, I learned that I am capable of academic growth and gaining new skills. Despite the school year being over, I have kept myself busy between a remote research lab position, painting, learning new cooking recipes, and teaching myself how to code. At the end of winter quarter, I found myself almost immobilized by academic apathy. In the quiet of night, I’d toss and turn, worrying about how I would get my degree if I could hardly handle the lower division courses I was taking then. Now, with the year behind me, I feel reinvigorated and excited to take the next steps in my educational journey. I’ve rediscovered that I belong in college."

Watch more #WeBelongInCollege stories here!                     

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