How First-Generation Students Were Impacted By COVID-19?

Updated: Nov 4, 2021


Image by Wix.

As we continue to live through a global pandemic, it's unbelievable to think how far we have come. In March 2020, the United States declared a national emergency which led to many uncertainties for everyone. Students were forced to move out of their dorms and switch to remote learning. Some students couldn't go home and had to find a place to stay in a matter of days. Many employees had to work from home or lost their job due to the lockdown. It was a strange and challenging time for everyone and we had to learn how to adapt to this new life of ours.


The pandemic impacted everyone, but some were impacted greater than others. According to a recent study published in Harvard Business Review, students who experienced financial challenges and knew someone close to them who contracted the Covid-19 virus were lonelier and more stressed than students who hadn't. The same study found that 54% of students felt they "often" or "always" could not control the crucial things in their life.


It's important to keep in mind that you are going through your own struggles, but it doesn't mean you are alone. Many students have similar obstacles and it can be helpful to read other young people's stories.


Tina Lin, a senior at Drexel University, was put in a difficult position as she lost her only income stream.


Photo by Bin Liu.

"​​I was really happy with my life. I got enough sleep hours, secured a co-op at Comcast, and had my finances laid out. Once the pandemic hit, my co-op got canceled and I lost my only stream of income. My mental health went downhill from there because I relied on co-ops to help pay for my tuition," Lin explains.


When Lin lost her co-op during a pandemic, she dealt with a lot of anxiety and stress. She didn't know if she would be able to afford next year's tuition.




Mateo Garces-Jimenez wrote an article in CNBC sharing stories of challenges first-generation college students went through during the pandemic. Devonna Begay, a senior at the University of Portland, received an email from the university that students are required to move out of their dorm. Begay had three days to pack and find a place to move. Moving back home was not an option for her since she didn't have internet access to complete school online, but Begay was able to stay at her boyfriend's house.

Photo by Amy Sung.

Dennis Kim, a student who graduated from Rutgers, New Brunswick, felt anxious about the future.


"During my last year of college, I was still figuring out what I wanted to do after graduation. The pandemic started a few months before I graduated and many people were in the same situation where they didn't have a job, didn't know where to go and places weren't looking to hire. I felt like everyone was feeling the same stress, but also the people who graduated with me had a lot of anxiety about jobs and security in the future," Kim says.


It's challenging to live through a pandemic as our world turns upside down. Whatever you are facing right now is an obstacle and you will get through it. College students like yourself are stronger than ever before. You had to deal with challenges during a pandemic on top of attending college.