My reaction to the coronavirus – from a college student and an essential worker


Kaylea Kuhlman, Editor in Chief

 NORFOLK – Over the last month, just about everyone has been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.  

As most schools, Northeast Community College is going online for the rest of the semester. If this was any other semester, I would have completely loved going fully remote, however it is my last semester as a student at Northeast. I only have a few classes left to complete, but I was hoping to complete them in the same way I did for the last year and a half and have all opportunities available to me.  

With saying that though, I am incredibly grateful for the continued opportunity to complete my Associate’s degree in Mass Media this semester. 

Even though this method comes with a lot more distractions, it has a lot of positives. I myself really enjoy getting to complete assignments on my own time. I prefer to work ahead and get things done as soon as I have the time to do it. I feel like with schools being solely online, it allows for us students to learn a new form of time management skills and learn to find the motivation on our own to get the homework done.  

 Another major plus I have found is not having to get up early for a 9 a.m. Biology lecture.  

At the beginning of this semester, my weeks were starting to feel like a constant back and forth routine between school and work. With the extension of spring break and the beginning of moving to online only, it had felt like it was not real life. It seemed like living in a movie with all of the changes that occurred.  

I am interested to see what the decision is regarding graduation ceremonies and the future school plans that could be changed. 

Another aspect of my life that has been completely changed from COVID-19, is work. I am considered an essential worker, so I will be continuing to work regularly throughout this rough time.  

It is a weird feeling knowing that I fall under the category of these ‘essential workers.’ To me, this term makes me automatically think of doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters etc. But, one major thing this pandemic taught me so far is that grocery store workers are just as important to the community, as we are helping to provide food and other necessities to the public.  

I work at Walmart in the Online Pickup department, which some may assume it would not be as different than usual, maybe even busier than we previously were, but in actuality, we have not been able to fulfill as many orders due to the shelves almost being completely empty for a while. Some products, like toilet paper, are still extremely difficult for all shoppers to come by.  

As the time keeps going on, it is intriguing to see the number of people wearing masks and gloves increase. I am glad people are trying to protect themselves, but I find it heartbreaking that we have come to these measures to just go out in public to the grocery store.  

Along with protective wear, I have also noticed a drastic change in people’s reactions to this issue. At first, many people began preparing to buy lots of groceries, but specifically started to buy a large number of hand sanitizer, water, toilet paper and paper towels. This led other customers to get frustrated, but surprised when they came to the store and saw the empty shelves. Now, almost all customers have full carts and are constantly checking those high demand areas and asking about restocks.  

Something else I struggled with during this time with being a personal shopper was the guilt that came with taking the last item on the shelf, even though the product was directly going to a customer who ordered it, it was difficult to potentially take it away from a customer physically in the store who could have been hoping to get that specific thing.  

For a while the numbers of our orders got so low, employees were constantly getting moved around to other areas in the store or helping to sanitize popular locations in the store. For me personally, this was hardgoing into other areas when I prefer to do my usual job. But it did feel nice to help stock the shelves more for customers and relieve the work load of the employees in those areas. It was also a nice moment for everyone in our area to not feel as rushed and focus on the orders we did have. 

Thankfully our order numbers are slowly starting to rise and we can continue to give more customers their groceries in a safer and more stress-free way. 

I hope everyone is currently staying healthy and safe during this tough and challenging time. I hope everything can soon calm down and resume to normal.