My name is Sandra Amaya and I just finished up my semester in the Criminology and Criminal Justice program at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG). Like most students, the current situation changed my life completely. This semester I was taking five classes and working two jobs, one being at the USG REC center. Most of my days consisted of me going to school then heading directly to work.
Of course, with the pandemic school transitioned to online, but my jobs didn’t. I lost both of my jobs. With such a drastic change it was difficult to take in what was happening. I was left without an income and school became more difficult to follow. I was spending much more time at home and had free time – something that I haven’t had in a long time. During the first couple of weeks I honestly spent most of my time in bed. I felt alone without my friends at school and work. I was extremely anxious about classes being moved to online, since I’m a better learner in a classroom setting. During the first couple of days of classes I was having issues focusing and was confused about future assignments.
Luckily my CEO program coach, Melissa Herrera, gave me advice on how to organize myself for school. Tips such as creating a space to do your work and to avoid doing work in your bed. Since many professors were changing assignments and due dates it was important to write everything down. I went through every class email and wrote every upcoming assignment down in specific colors and hung sticky notes in front of my desk. By doing this, I knew what assignments were coming up and their due dates. It was important for me to follow my deadlines closely so I wouldn’t fall behind.
Before this situation I would barely spend time with my family, as I mentioned earlier, I would be at school and working so we really only saw each other during the weekends. I’m really appreciative that I have had the opportunity to eat dinner with my family and interact with them more than I’ve ever had.
Today, I spend most of my time at home, but when I do have to head out I wear my gloves and mask. I usually take walks around my neighborhood with my dog. Having a dog is something that I’m appreciative of. My boyfriend noticed how down how I was feeling and arranged for his dog and their siblings to have a puppy play date. This was something that really helped me forget of the stress of finals and life now. Like millions of other people, the coronavirus has changed my life completely. But I’m extremely grateful to have my family, boyfriend, friends, and dog all by my side.