[Haley Reading groups Spring 2021]
We're taking a pause on the short stories for this week.
After a year of the world dealing with COVID, commentators and researchers have noted how the pandemic revealed or exacerbated the vulnerability of African Americans in terms of health, in the workforce, in primary and secondary schools, and in neighborhoods and homes.
Ok, but let’s now consider how the pandemic has affected college students, especially SIUE students.
What’s one notable way that the pandemic revealed or exacerbated challenges concerning African Americans at SIUE? Or, what's one notable way that the pandemic revealed or exacerbated challenges that you face at SIUE as an African American or student of color?Some Examples:
• As a black student, this pandemic has made it even harder for me to connect with other black students for study groups or other activities. Connecting virtually is an option, but it's not enough. --K. T.• I participated in a science conference for minorities, and it had to take place online. It was still fun, but I prefer to go the actual event itself with my classmates. –Y. H.• The pandemic has made it harder to afford to continue to go to university. Many people are out of work so some students may have had to drop out to help at home, or ease the financial strain on their families. --L. H.
Since the pandemic has began I think it has been increasingly challenging to connect with other students on campus. It is also been hard to get involved with events because I lack interest with things online. So it has been very challenging during the pandemic.
I think being in a pandemic has affected various aspects of my life. Socially, we can connect online but personally we are disconnected from one another. Though I will say I was able to take time to reflect and understand myself more during this time as well.
The pandemic has made it difficult to remain social and connect with other students. During the riots last year and with the controversy that surrounded Black Lives Matter, social media would be the only the only way to unite with others and share experiences.
For me, the pandemic has made it challenging to connect and socialize with other students on campus, especially students of color. I would like to go to more in-person activities to meet and connect with other students.
This year, I really wanted to try to socialize and get more involved on campus but, the pandemic has made that much harder. I hoping next semester will be better
As a black person at a PWI it's already been hard to connect to other black people but especially hard to make friends because I connect better to black people. With the pandemic happening I basically have no social life on campus anymore because it's nearly impossible to meet and connect to new people.
As a black student at SIUE, the pandemic has made it extremely hard to get involved in different on campus groups. I would have really liked to be a part of at least a couple of groups for black students but with everything being online, it has been very hard. I wish there were more options on campus, but there is not and it is difficult to reach out and meet other black students in these groups. It would be so much easier if the pandemic was not happening but it is, so adapting to all the changes is all I can do.
As a black woman at SIUE, this pandemic has made it especially hard to connect with other minorities because we are virtual. Coming from a small, rural, mostly white town, I was excited to attend a school with more diversity and people of various backgrounds. The pandemic, however, has made this extremely difficult being that most places are closed and I rarely have to come to campus. I did join a sorority, however, it is unfortunately mostly white (I was a COB, so I did not choose my organization, it chose me). While I love all my sisters, this does not give me the opportunity that I need to be able to connect with other students of color.
On top of that, I know that my mother has been struggling as a black business owner during this pandemic due to the economy. This is the reality for a lot of black people. A lot of us are struggling to make ends meet or even just to put food on the table. I pray that those of us going through these hardships experience some kind of relief and can maintain hope that things will get better.
I am a mixed girl with a lot of white friends and the pandemic was very hard on me emotionally and mentally. Through that time I did have a job and I guess you could say I was not struggling financially but school truly did a number on me. When the pandemic started I was at a junior college and transferred to Siue in the fall so It was hard trying to make new friends and trying to be educated through a computer screen. As things are kinda beginning to go back to normal or whatever normal will be, I feel like my motivation for school probably will not be the same as it was before covid happened and that is troubling.
As a black woman at SIUE on top of being a transfer student, it has been extremely hard for me to connect with other black people and get involved on campus. I understand that I need to stay focus on my schoolwork, but sometimes it would be nice to hang out with others to relieve stress and COVID has made that extremely hard. On top of that, learning through a screen is not the best because it doesn't make me feel as motivated.
I think the pandemic has just made it much harder for me as a black student to feel like I am apart of the community at SIUE. Due to the pandemic, I live off campus and I rarely have to go up to the campus, so most of my interactions with other students are virtual. I find it hard to really get to know anyone or join any programs/clubs through a screen.
Being a black student at SIUE the pandemic has made it a challenge to stay in contact with other black students. Also I miss all the events on campus we would attend to and all the events for Black History Month was done virtually and I miss the gatherings where we celebrate our culture. I miss study sessions in library and in the dorms for final exams, plus making new friends as well.
Being a part of an organization on campus it was hard to do fundraisers and do community service. The only good thing from the pandemic is that I learned a lot about myself as well as my peers and taking time to work on myself and get some things taken care of.
As a black woman at SIUE, the pandemic has affected me emotionally, mentally and socially. My family is still in Kenya Africa and I have not visited them in a long time. I was to go visit them during the Christmas break but I feared that the border would be closed up again and that would mean that I would miss some classes for this semester. Am also really out going and I like to meet new people and socialize but the pandemic has made that really hard. The school is pretty empty since most classes are online other than labs.
The pandemic has in my experience taken away most if not all socializing events among black people. I have only been to the SIUE campus once and that's because I had to pick up my books. I was extremely involved back in high school and somewhat at SLU and even after a semester of being here, I couldn't name any clubs that we have let alone those catered towards black students. Most of the flyers that get sent out to us regarding events happen to feature no black people, which doesn't pique my interest, so I just never attend them.
As a black student at SIUE, I feel as though the pandemic has made it much harder to connect with other black women. I haven't met many black students in general because meeting in person isn't really an option right now, and it's honesty really hard for me to connect with people online.
As a result of the pandemic I have been completing my first year of college through online learning and haven't been on campus in over a year. The pandemic has prevented me from feeling connected to the siue community. I haven’t been able to explore the campus and the environment, and this has prevented me from connecting with other black students at the school. I had planned to become more social this year, make a more diverse friend group and begin making connections by joining organizations however, this has become more difficult since the pandemic changed so much regarding how we socialize with each other. I also feel that I've been affected mentally, because of how isolating the pandemic has been. And I often feel emotionally drained from all the deaths I've witnessed this year and all the violence that has been occurring as well.
As a Black female student at SIUE, I think the pandemic has made it harder to connect to our professors. Black students are already at a disadvantage for connecting to their mostly male caucasian professors and not being able to see them in person makes it even harder to communicate unless you absolutely NEED to reach out.
As a mixed-race student, I do not think the pandemic has affected me any differently than any other person of any other race. It has made it much harder to connect with and make new friends, however. Living off campus and an hour away has made it much harder to go to the already limited amount of campus activities that there are. Education has also become much harder without in person classes, although I do believe some classes would be perfectly fine online in the future.
As a Black female first-year at SIUE, I feel like this pandemic has made it harder to meet other people who look like me. While I have made a few friends while being here, I don't feel like I've met someone who I've truly related to and who can really understand me and my experiences. Plus with all of the violence against Black people constantly being publicized over the past year, it feels like I can never catch a break. I am very stressed and I feel I'm unable to share it with any of the people that I talk to currently because they won't understand.
It was hard having limited SIUE hands on tutoring services. A lot of my African American peers have mentioned needing hands on tutoring but with COVID and them not in Edwardsville they weren't able to get the help they needed and their grades showed that. As well as it was easier to see posters for social events on campus last year but this year not only were the events stopped but getting the opportunity to go and connect with out students of color was stopped as well.
As a Black student attending SIUE, a PWI, it is hard for me to meet other BIPOC because of a lot of safety precautions that this pandemic has caused. This is my first year here at SIUE and it has been challenging even befriending students with who I have a class. It is very stressful being in this pandemic as a black person because I know how COVID has treated its black patients and it stressful because I am always worried about being next that is affected by COVID. I wish there were more events (safe and socially distanced) that allowed me to connect with other black students that attend SIUE.
I could go on and on about how the pandemic has affected me and my family over the past year. Being an African American female I always found it hard to ask questions in lecture for fear of being judged or called ignorant because of my race. With the use of zoom now its almost impossible to ask questions at all and in my in person classes rather than a full lecture where i blend in, it feels like my small town high school again where out of 20 students in a class there were only 2, maybe 3 students of color and we were always sat in the back and paid no attention to over the other students. My anxiety when it comes to taking in class exams has also skyrocketed because I never want to be the first one done in an exam but feel that I will be judged for being last.
Due to the pandemic it has been harder for me to make other African American friends due to the fact that I attend a Predominately White Institute. Most of the people in my classes are not POC and I can't relate to them. I don't have as much confidence to ask questions during my lecture because it's hard for me to connect with my professors.
The current pandemic we have been faced with for over a year now has brought about many difficulties for me as a college freshman. For one, it has made it much more difficult for myself and other African American undergrads to connect with one another, due to most classes and campus activities being held virtually. In addition, many less fortunate African American students have either chosen or been forced to sit this semester out, due to the poor health of the economy, which lessens the school's overall diversity and lessens the amount of representation our campus has of us as a race.
It is difficult to be exposed to other students on a level to actually meet them because of how limited interactions are on campus. Online events do not appeal to me.
Ever since the pandemic happened, school has been becoming more of a struggle for since I didn't get to experience what a regular college education is, specially being a freshman. School has lost its flair for me ever since it went online and I find it hard to be motivated, but I'm trying to get out of the mentality since I really do enjoy school and I want to feel motivated like I used to. It has also been really hard to participate in event since I live at home and my schedule never works out with online event, so I feel like I'm missing out on many experiences. Thankfully, I haven't had a hard time making friends since I am pretty sociable no matter if it's in-person or online. Hopefully things go back to normal soon so I can experience the true college life I have missed out on.
Since the pandemic, college life as well as life in general has become much more difficult. Especially when it comes to socializing. Because of all the time I spent in quarantine, I actually lost a lot of my social skills. So even during the rare occasion that I run into my fellow African American peers I have no idea how to engage with them. Not only that, but there's hardly any in-person events I can attend to help me meet new people.
I think the biggest struggle for me during this pandemic has to be on the financial side. Money was much harder to come by this past year, and that's an experience that is not foreign to a lot of my peers. A great portion of classmates and friends had to skip out on school this year, and a vast majority of them were African American. It really makes building and maintaining lasting relationships much harder, and I wish that they could be here with me.
Since the pandemic has begun, I feel like it's been harder to reach out and make connections. Of course, I can and have made friends with those who live near me in the dorms, but I haven't made as many friendships with other black girls as I wanted to.
The pandemic has made it harder to do many things on campus. For me, I feel like it is harder to try to be active and be social, especially when it comes to trying to connect with the other African Americans on campus. Also, the experience with transitioning from in person to online so suddenly had made it harder to stay motivated and to have the real college experience we all signed up for.
In the past year the pandemic has changed a lot for me. From previous years I suffer from seasonal depression, ranging from December to March it is tough for me to cope with alot of things the main thing is family issues. Being on quarantine made it much more difficult to deal with these things because feeling lonely. Being a student during the semester it has been a struggle keeping up with school work and also working a job in order to earn money in order to cover cost of things I need while not in school.
As far as being social, I have no problem with making friends or communicating with others because I am an initiator of contact. So since other people are more comfortable receiving than initiating, it wasn't hard to make friends. My only problem is that we as students aren't getting our moneys worth for the higher education. I shouldn't be paying full price for a class that was meant to be in person but is online. It has less resources. Therefore, it would be logical to pay less for that class but we still pay the price as if it was in person. Along with that, it feels like I'm literally teaching myself most of these concepts that these classes introduce. College is supposed to be the creme de la creme of education but during this pandemic I'm getting robbed. The quality of said product(education) is not worth the price they advertise right now.
The biggest struggle for me during the pandemic has been connecting with other African American students on campus. In both of my in-person classes I am the only African American student. There are virtual events held for people of color on campus but it isn't the same as connecting with people face to face.
As a Black woman and also with this being my first year here at SIUE, the pandemic has definitely revealed a few challenges for me as a Black person at a predominately white institution. The first problem that I struggled with was getting to socialize with other Black women due to the lack of in-person meetings and events. Although I was fortunate enough to get involved with many organizations and clubs created for Black people and Black women, I had a very hard time getting to know people from these same organizations because we only really interacted with each other virtually, which does not really give us the space to talk to one another.
I also struggled to connect with many of my professors that were teaching my asynchronous courses. It is very important to connect with your professors, but I really only got to connect with the few that I met with due to the pandemic.
The biggest struggle for me in regards to the pandemic has definitely been making friends. Not only do I find making friends, in general, hard but it makes it ten times harder when everyone is being told not to socialize outside of your usual; set of people. As a biracial bisexual male I find it hard to find friends that accept me for me in the first place so then when this extra block is added it makes it even harder.
As a black student in this pandemic, I have struggled to find other black students to relate to since I started grad school this year. During undergrad it was very easy to see the diversity walking around campus and throughout my classes. However, I have the same classes everyday with the same 60+ people and only 3 of us are black. It can feel isolating sometimes looking into the sea of zoom screens and being one of the only people who looks different.
When reading works like this I always think about how much work went into writing that includes the network. The author has to remember or "research" what went into what they wrote in the past or make a diagram to remember who knows who or what connections there are between places or characters.
Covid-19 has impacted me on campus, as far as being mixed, by isolating me more than people of color have been isolated in the past. SIUe is statistically predominantly white and living on campus means I see every day that I am the only mixed person on my hall, the only, or one of few, person(s) of color in my classes. The pandemic has kept many people off campus and has closed many events and social opportunities for individuals such as myself. Whether we are hulled up in our dorms, staying home, or only in public spaces for short amounts of time, it is all thanks to the pandemic.
Kendall Fry 3/27/21
This year I wanted to try to socialize and get more involved on campus but because of the pandemic that has made it challenging. Hopefully next year will be better.
Ashanti Young 3/26/21
The pandemic has affected my experience here as a black student because I feel like I am apart of the few students who decided to live on campus this year, understandably a lot of students opted out because of the pandemic. It makes it harder to connect with other students generally, but it also does make it harder to meet other students of color and feel like I belong here.
I can't effectively interact with my fellow black students because I'm miles away. It would nice to become part of an African American community after coming from a predominately white school where I felt out of place.
The pandemic has really affected me because I transferred to SIUE and missed a whole year of being on campus. Going to a new school trying to adapt online was very tough, hopefully I make friends on campus. Also classes are very hard online and I never want to do this again.
The pandemic has made it harder for black students to meet black faculty and build connections with them. These connections are essential to have to make sure someone has your back.
The pandemic has made it difficult for me to even want to continue college. The classes became more difficult and demanding. They are almost impossible due to bad internet connections, staticky microphones, and miscommunication. Also, I know so many people who have dropped out to work. They either can't afford it or they just couldn't keep up with the work load. I know everyone is over school right now.
As a black student at SIUE it has become more difficult to pay for my education; I have struggled to interact with students outside of my resident hall, especially students that look like me; and my mental health has depleted significantly, which inherently has affected how I function academically, socially, and professionally. Overall, this has been a very stressful time.
Ilysa Walker, 3/29/21
Being a freshman at SIUE during the pandemic has made social life very difficult. With majority of classes being online, it has been difficult to connect with other students. This has made social life difficult as we are only able to make connections vitually.
Mya Jackson 3/29/21
There is a program at this university called brother 2 brother and I enjoyed this program until it was forced to go online once the covid rates went up and this took away from the face to face aspect and made it harder to communicate with other African american students
- Richard Haley
Being black at SIUe during the pandemic has shown me a lot of things. The most prominent two things though would be the university allowing a BLM march to happen over the summer and the support of faculty of all colors helping with the effort. I also appreciate the diversity and inclusion emails that are sent out during times of racial tension reminding our peers to be mindful and sensitive. Secondly, I appreciate the efforts given to support minority students through clubs and organizations. The BSU and SNAP really have changed my life for the better by showing me how to thrive at this institution while black.
This pandemic has been hell for me. I don't do well with making friends on a normal and regular basis, due to social anxiety, so trying to find people to reach out to and become friends has been harder. It made me focus on the parts of me I don't like and I have been dwelling on them for too long. It just has made me numb, as if I don't want to be here anymore. Maybe I don't.
As being an African American student who is male and attending SIUE, I feel that the pandemic has also made it worse for me. I am a social person at times, but with the virus being around, I haven't made alot of friends that I wanted to do. Also with half of my classes being online, I barely leave my room some days.
I have found it very hard to make connections with new people. Being online has made it very difficult to meet people and develop friendships with them.
As a black student, I feel especially isolated from other black students because of the pandemic. There are not many opportunities to connect and because of this it is disheartening as my circle is so small. I miss big events on campus. Black History month was conducted virtually this year and it didn’t feel very fulfilling. A lot of the clubs seem to be dominated by non-minorities so I keep to myself.
-Marianne Huck, 4/7/21
I feel like it goes for everyone when I say that the pandemic has made it extremely challenging to build connections with people during the pandemic. I grew up on the east coast with a diverse family and community then moved to Illinois, where I attended a prodominently white high-school. Being a young woman of color in this area (also the "token Black girl"), I was hoping when I began my freshmen year at SIUE that I would get the opportunity to meet a variety of new, different people. Obviously because of COVID-19, I did not get to experience meeting and connecting with people the way I had hoped.
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