College kids have added stressors thanks to COVID

Kim Brroks
Babbling Brooks Column
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     I recently interviewed a few college students from Monticello about to return or embark on their college lives during a mass pandemic. And it has me returning to my own college experience 10-plus years ago…

     Obviously the years I was in college, 2007-09 (like many of these local college students today, I had community college credits that transferred to a four-year college that allowed me to earn my four-year degree in two years), were during a much different time than what today’s college students are experiencing thanks to COVID-19.

     Dorm life wasn’t spent fearing we might get debilitating virus. We hung out in various friends’ dorms watching TV, watching movies, playing video games, having pizza parties, and generally hanging out and having fun.

     We went to meals in the cafeteria without wearing face coverings. In fact, all social events on campus were business as usual. Today, college students may not see sporting events, campus-wide gatherings, or have to go to meals at staggered times.

     I attended Clarke (College) University in Dubuque. And as of this past weekend, the City of Dubuque issued a mandate that facemasks would be required at all public places, including businesses.

     When I was living on campus in Dubuque, we found ourselves going out on a weekly basis. We didn’t have to worry about making sure we had a facemask before going out for the evening.

     Some colleges are resorting to online-only classes for the fall semester, or for the entire year. Yes, some college classes are only offered online, but this will be another big change college students might face this year.

     I loathed online classes. It required me to balance my schedule, dedicate enough time toward my online classes as if they were in-person classes, and put in enough effort. I much preferred physical, in-person classes. I learned better in a lecture-type setting.

     And when you think of all that the Class of 2020 went through earlier this year… Losing out on a full last year of high school. No prom. Atypical graduation ceremony. (In some cases, no graduation.) No big trips with family before heading off to college. And now they face an unusual start to their freshman year of college.

     I think we all thought COVID-19 would be over by now. But unfortunately with students going back to school and starting college across the country, perhaps things might get worse; who knows…

     But we need to keep in mind what these young people are about to embark on as they, too, move on to another chapter in their lives.

     My advice: Make the most of your time in college, pandemic or no pandemic. Your college memories, much like your high school years, last forever. We don’t all stay connected with our high school friends, and that’s OK. My college roommates and friends are still some of my best confidants 10 years later. You’ll always remember your time in college, even more so with COVID-19 in the midst.


Subscriber Login