Graduating college students reflect on pandemic challenges

Frank Shields III

In the coming weeks, the class of 2022 will attend commencement ceremonies at universities and colleges across New York and here on Long Island, celebrating their achievements as the graduating class of one of the most difficult periods in recent memory. These students were most affected by the events of 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic caused educational institutions across the country to transition abruptly to remote learning, disrupting the lives of millions of college students on their campuses. 

Because of the pandemic and the physical, economic and social turmoil that followed, the mental and emotional health of many, if not most, college students suffered after they lost the ability to attend classes in person and socialize with friends at school.

In this heartfelt audio feature, Hofstra University film major Frank Shields shares how the pandemic stole so much of what his college life could have been. In this report, he speaks with a number of his fellow students about their reactions when the pandemic first erupted, and their experiences living through this era of lockdowns, Zoom meetings and economic crisis. It was a difficult time for them. But as you’ll hear in their stories, these tough, irrepressible and creative students survived the pandemic with newfound success and remarkable achievements. Resiliency became the “new normal” for the class of 2022.

Amudalat Ajasa
Athena Dawson
Sophia Franklin
Will Germaine
Dr. Sarah Novak