Unmasked: Personal Stories Of Living In A Pandemic


Eresay Alcantar

Most students have an idea of what college is like before entering. Hands on experience, making new friends, and having classes that are hard to get up for, but worth it in the end. For many first years, the 2019-2020 school year had a promising outlook just from the fall semester. However, the spring did not go as planned for students across the country as well as around the globe. 


Coronavirus impacted every single student in the country. This story will focus on Aylin Ugarte, a second year who will be graduating this fall. Ugarte was living a steady life before the pandemic began. “Before covid I was just attending school, focusing on my work, working at TJ Maxx on the weekends and spending time with my family.”  


Ugarte has family in Mexico and visits quite often. She never expected that she would not be able to go because of Coronavirus. “One of the plans that I had before covid was to go to Mexico for the summer and celebrate my sister’s quinceañera. My family and I were about to start preparing for our trip to Mexico like buying party decor, outfits, and other necessities..,” said Ugarte. Unfortunately, the plans never went through and Ugarte had to stay home with the rest of her family as many others with similar plans did as well.  


The pandemic has been a scary and nerve-racking experience for almost every student. “I was no longer having face to face classes at the college and I wasn’t going to work…the only people who I was face to face with was my family and I didn’t want to be around other people because I was in fear of getting sick and then getting my family sick as well.” As previously stated, Ugarte lives with her family and the fear she faced due to the situation was and still is reasonable.  


Although the pandemic has been hard on students and their families, a few lessons have come with it. “I learned that I should appreciate and be grateful for everything. I should be grateful to be able to attend school…and to spend a lot of time with people I love because you never know what can happen,” said Ugarte. Though it may be forgotten from time to time, every moment is precious and the pandemic has shown that.  


Now more than ever Ugarte spends as much time as she can with her family and cherishes it. “I value the time I spend with my family so much more because tomorrow is never promised for anyone…” 


Ugarte plans to graduate this fall and hopes to be able to visit her family in Mexico, “Even if we can’t do much, just knowing I’m in Mexico would make me happy.”