How do you plan for a pandemic? Maybe you stock up on essentials, save some emergency funds or buy stock in Zoom. How does a college student plan for a pandemic? Maybe they buy extra packets of ramen and collect and count their spare change. But how does a community college student, who is set to transfer to a CSU in the fall, plan for a pandemic? Well, that I wish I knew.
I’m currently searching for answers because, due to my impeccable timing, I’m planning to transfer to a four-year school this fall. At least, that was the original plan.
Now, I understand that I’m incredibly privileged to have a roof over my head and be in fairly good health during times as uncertain as these. I also recognize that the timing of a pandemic is never truly “convenient” for anyone, but my personal pity party persists nonetheless.
Another fear of mine involves how social distancing will impact my college experience. Transferring to a CSU was supposed to give me my first “real” glimpse at college life. I was to move out of my childhood bedroom and into a world of independence and freedom. Now, I’m also concerned if transferring is even worth it anymore.
I’m currently paying around $800 for classes, which I’m managing decently as an unemployed student. The thought of paying upwards of $10,000 in tuition to be taking nearly the same classes online and be doing basically the same thing I’m doing now is existential-crisis inducing.
How do I, or anyone else in a similar position, rationalize going into an immense amount of student debt over some Zoom calls run by teachers who can’t change the font size on their phones without their children’s help? It’s not even the instructor’s fault! They were thrown into this situation just as blind as the rest of us.
One thing that has lightened the stress on my shoulders is the knowledge that I’m not alone. Every year, around 80,000 California community colleges students transfer to a University of California or California State University campus. Misery certainly loves company.
Perhaps I’m being too cynical, but it’s incredibly difficult to feign positivity when you can’t be positive about what news tomorrow may bring.
Maybe the answer to “How do you plan for a pandemic?” varies per person, situation or institution. If you figure it out, please let me know.