The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Students speak: Campus shutdown

Photo contributed by Yaesul Kim.
Photo contributed by Yaesul Kim.

The S&B will be publishing an extended series of Students Speak articles about dealing with COVID-19 and the subsequent campus shut-down and move to remote learning. These interviews have been edited for clarity and length.

Editor’s note: the following interview was conducted on Thursday, March 12, 2020. As the situation on-campus and globally is evolving rapidly, some information may be no longer accurate.

Photo contributed by Yaesul Kim.

Yeaseul Kim ’20

This whole thing has been pretty heartbreaking. A lot of my friends and peers are reeling because I think there’s so many things that you’re looking forward to. Personally, I feel like I didn’t let myself really enjoy Grinnell as much as I would have liked to because I was so focused on my studies. I was so looking forward to this last semester; I was like, ‘I’m finally going to relax and all of that.’ Then there’s just a general, you know, thing, saying that we’re not going to be able to see our friends again, possibly ever. And we thought we would have two more months to spend with our friends but now we found out that you have like a week.

I’ve just been actively thinking about who I really want to prioritize my time with, which sounds weird, but I feel like I just don’t have the time. So I’m thinking about who I really value as a friend, who I really appreciated over the years and I haven’t been able to be with on a daily basis, or who I won’t be able to see in the next couple of weeks. My housemates and I, all of our families live internationally. So, yeah, leaving campus isn’t an option for us and we luckily have off-campus housing, so we’re going to be staying.

For me, I feel like I’ve been going through waves of disbelief and shock, just like bitterness about the whole situation, not towards the institution or like anyone in particular, but about the virus and what’s happening around the world. Then it passes and I’m numb. I’m just kind of trying to get through my work, because I still have an exam to take tomorrow. I have a whole paper to write by tomorrow, which is so bad. You know, throughout all of this, it’s the worst time to try to even concentrate on anything academic.

Ultimately, I’m really grateful that our entire student body is really conscious of what the situation is. Even though we’re all really unhappy with what’s happening, we understand that we have to take these measures for the greater good and for society and for members of the community who can’t protect themselves. I’m so happy that students are understanding that they have that responsibility and power to do that and they’re willing to do it, they’re not like protesting against it or anything.

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