Opinion: A revisit of the pandemic lockdown and how students overcame it


Illustration by Elvin Gonzalez.

Elvin Gonzalez, Reporter

It has been three years since the first COVID-19 lockdown, when people all over the world were ordered to stay home and not make physical contact with others. 

2020 was a year unlike any other, when schools were forced to shut down. Everything except markets and other essential stores remained closed. This led to a recession, where people who were let go from their jobs had to figure out ways to make it through the pandemic. Those who kept their job were working remotely from home, and students attended classes virtually. 

When it came to the learning environment, students needed to adjust to not having in-person interaction and exclusively attended classes through Zoom. A lot of students enjoyed the idea of not having to go to school and staying home. 

CSUN journalism major Aliyah Hinckley, 21, was just starting to attend classes at Shasta College before the pandemic hit. She got to experience a little bit of campus life before they announced that students should study at home, and she had no problem adjusting.  

“I was happy that I get to stay home and not get ready for school,” she said. “In chemistry class we adjusted because we would usually be working in the lab; now we are just doing the math part.” 

Teachers also needed help adjusting to online learning, with student engagement and in-person teaching moved online, and students losing interest in attending school. 

Hinckley explained that she would always be on her phone, and her parents would constantly check to see what she was doing.

“I had to put away all those distractions and focus on my classes and meet the deadlines of my assignments.”

The shutdown also came with postponements of events like senior prom, grad night, and the on-stage graduation ceremony. High schools were having drive-thru events where students were greeted by the school dean and received their diploma from their vehicles. CSUN students in the class of 2020 and 2021 received the option to participate in the 2022 commencement ceremony to fill a memory they had planned for a long time. 

In an NPR article from 2020, graduating high school senior Kendall Smith of Tallahassee, Florida, explained how she was looking forward to attending Grad Bash, when the school sends graduating seniors off to celebrate at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Smith and her friends had been looking forward to it since they were freshmen and saw other senior classes posting it on social media, thinking that would be them when the day comes. Unfortunately, the day never came, and the pandemic got in the way of one of their most memorable events before heading into adulthood. 

Going into 2021, it felt like the pandemic was over and we would get back to our regular lives with no restrictions or mandates. Businesses were starting to reopen and welcomed back clients at retail stores, for in-person doctor visits and indoor dining at restaurants. However, schools decided to keep the guidelines for teaching classes online, and there were still no on-stage graduation ceremonies or events at CSUN. 

CSUN announced the return of in-person classes for fall 2021, but the majority of classes were still online. Students were able to do well in classes because they interacted with other college students and shared notes. Some students created Discord and GroupMe chats to help develop their communication and work with others. This was a way to get through classes and move forward. 

When spring 2022 finally arrived, the first three weeks were still online, but throughout the semester, more classes were available in person.

While some students grew comfortable with online classes, most have transitioned back to being present on campus again. Things are finally starting to pick up where they left off, with club events and other social outings taking place. 

“I definitely like being in person and interacting with everyone because there are a lot of opportunities and relationships to be created,” Hinckley said. 

After three years of unsettling changes, students are determined to continue to create a unique college experience.