Article published in The Forum Student Newspaper.
The pandemic has affected a lot of people’s lives in various ways. For students, their college experience has been virtually non-existent due to online classes and the cancelation of on-campus events. Spring break is a big deal for students because it is a time to get away for a while and do something fun with friends. However, COVID-19 has hindered many students’ plans.
Gage Pipkin, a junior at UA Little Rock, didn’t have many plans previous to COVID-19. However, he might still go out of town.
“I didn’t plan anything because of COVID,” said Pipkin. “I was contemplating going to the beach because I’ve worked there over the summer, but due to everything going on and not trying to go many places, I just told my parents I may come home to say hi.”
Mikayla Stertmann, a freshman, had COVID-19 put a damper on her plans.
“One of the main people that wanted to go [on our trip], her parents said no because of COVID-19, and they didn’t know the house we were going to, so that sucks,” said Stertmann.
A typical vacation college students take is spring break at the beach but many will not be doing that because of the pandemic. There are other more safe activities that can still keep with the Center for Disease and Control guidelines.
Susan Schade, a graduate student, is going to use this time to relax and plan ahead due to her graduating in May.
“My plans for spring break are to rest, work on my research and wait to hear back on a job,” said Schade. “I may try to go hiking, so I may have to take precautions for that activity.”
The natural state has a lot to offer when it comes to outdoor activities such as lakes, hiking, parks and more. Having these options is vital especially during this pandemic because it allows you to be active while still enjoying yourself in a safe manner. Vaccines are rolling around Arkansas but many college students might be the last to be eligible so opting out of spring break plans seems to be the safest option for UA Little Rock students.
Some students, like senior Jasmine Pugh, are trying to see the positive side of this pandemic.
“[COVID-19] hasn’t really had an effect on any plans for me,” said Pugh. “I was actually able to accomplish a lot more due to [the pandemic]. I’m looking forward to protecting my craft and exploring my options in different fields.”
Regardless of plans or no plans, some UA Little Rock students are hoping that those who are moving on with their normal plans are either vaccinated or are being responsible for their actions.
“I feel like we live in a state of constant rule-bending,” said Pipkin. “It really is up to people what they feel comfortable with and what their safety standard is. I don’t really blame anyone. It’s more are [they] acting and doing things in a responsible way.”
Schade is staying home with her family and relaxing, but similar to Pipkin, she hopes people can take their precautions because she does understand that the vaccine isn’t the end all be all.
“When it comes to regular plans for others I just hope they are being smart,” said Schade. “If they do have the vaccine, people can still get sick if too many people are together.”
Stertmann understands that some situations are more acceptable than others when in public during a pandemic.
“It depends,” said Stertmann. “If it is a friend group you hang out with all the time and you go out and have a trip, that’s fine. Now if it’s going to a party with multiple people you don’t know, no, I do not agree with that.”
The world has been indoors for too long and most are itching to get out and travel. If that is your plan, be as safe as possible to try and slow the spread of COVID-19. For those deciding to stay home or don’t have extensive travel plans, hopefully, you find peace in knowing that the spread is slowing down. It is important to find positivity within every little win that you can achieve.