Tell Your Story – California during the time of COVID-19

Tell Your Story - Jackson, Santa Cruz
“Good Luck” sticky note message from an empty dorm building, Porter College, Santa Cruz, CA, May 9, 2020


Jackson, Santa Cruz

“To be frank, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a relief of sorts. I was two-thirds of the way through my freshman year at the University of California Santa Cruz when it hit. Within a matter of days, all dining halls on campus had closed, half of the student body had returned home, and all classes had been moved to online instruction for the remainder of the winter quarter. And to all of our surprise, administration advised that no one return to campus for the rest of the school year. I didn’t oblige. From the tail end of March through June I returned to campus and was housed in a nine-person apartment with only one other student. We were lucky to see anyone outside the confines of our own accommodations. Campus was a ghost town. For the first time in my life I felt truly alone, and I loved it. The normal college experience prior to the pandemic had proved extremely taxing for my physical and emotional health; being constantly swarmed by peers, partying every other night, learning to live with five other complete strangers in my first-ever apartment, on top of an already hefty academic strain. When COVID hit, the world stood still, and I could finally step back and breathe. There was no one to answer to except for pixels on a screen. For the first time since arriving I could actually appreciate my campus’s beautiful surroundings and not the nonsense that usually festered within it. I started making art again. I learned how to live my own mini life.”

Jackson, 19
Santa Cruz

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