Success Boston College Students Share their COVID-19 Stories

April 3, 2020

Success Boston students sitting at a table, looking forward,
Success Boston is a citywide college completion initiative of the Boston Foundation, the Boston Public Schools, the City of Boston, 37 area higher education institutions and nonprofit partners. It uses a coaching model to help students get ready for, get into and get through higher education. Over the last decade, it has increased the number of BPS grads earning a college degree by 77%.

In this post, Success Boston students share their experiences learning to cope with a new reality because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Jose Mendoza (Lesley University)

“With the recent impact of COVID-19 everything has been sort of strange for myself and my peers at Lesley. Moving on to a new platform of online learning is something that is scary and unknown for me. Throughout my college career, I have never taken an online course as my learning style is more one of in-person, hands-on and visual. With that being said, adding a barrier of only working on my school and internship work at home, a place that has been proven to be unsuccessful for completing my work, is hard. This is something that scares me as I have gotten used to working in libraries, coffee shops and study rooms with friends. I would have never thought that my last semester would have ended the way that it is going so far. Most recently I found out that my commencement has been postponed, the Undocumented & Students of Color Ceremony has been postponed, and just about all of the traditional senior activities have been canceled. With a lot of questions, uncertainty in the air and mixed feelings, the only thing that I know for sure is that I still have a lot of assignments to get done and lectures to attend online before ending my college career.”  

Kaman (Tufts University)

“I was literally taking a Gen-Chem exam that lasted from 7-9pm, and an email was sent out at around 8:15pm from the president of Tufts, Tony Monaco. The email stated that we had around 5 days to pack up and leave campus as classes were going to be online from then to the rest of the semester. When time was called at 9pm, almost all students opened up their phones and everyone started chatting and talking. It was clear people had mixed emotions about leaving so soon. I felt like it did not hit me at that moment because I was STILL processing from my exam, but it hit me the day after. I knew that I wanted to continue going to my classes for that week, and go home on that Friday. We have a house on campus called the FIRST Resource Center, and immediately the next day, people were in the advisor's office crying about how they were going to get home and such. Additionally, many students who considered Tufts their home were extremely stressed out. A lot of my close friends were really going through it, so I felt very bad and helpless. A lot of the seniors in my sorority also reacted pretty negatively, they were so upset to see their senior year gone just like that. Thankfully, people on campus created a Tufts Mutual Aid fund, where people can donate time, money, housing, etc. to help other students get home, or adjust. It was really beautiful seeing Tufts members helping each other and reminded me of why I decided to go here. Additionally, the FIRST Center was able to help everyone get plane tickets back home if their EFC's were less than 7k. The Director also vouched for students who have financial and food insecurities, homelessness, etc. to allow them to stay on campus. I thought this was amazing.

As for leaving and moving out of Tufts, I was honestly a wreck. I remember it was on a Thursday when I received another email that someone on campus tested positive for the COVID19, so I immediately called my dad to help me move out and also began packing my room. Altogether, I finished packing in about 1.5 hours, but it was very, very stressful. I was panicking because Tufts did not disclose who this individual was, so I was thinking the worst possible scenarios about if I had gotten the virus. However, right now I seem to be doing fine. I think this entire experience was stressful, but I am glad that I am currently on "spring break" so I can rest.

As for campus jobs, I was very lucky that my work study was filled up from a scholarship. However, I know that a lot of students counted on the money they made to support themselves.”        


Davetta Branch-Kenner (Junior, Southern New Hampshire University)

Here we are fighting through yet another crisis. Roughly two weeks ago, my job decided we could work from home between the hours of 9-5 but I’m on-site two days a week and then I work my other job on the weekends. I usually do my homework 4 hours every other day to make sure I stay on somewhat of a regular schedule. Next week I may have to work from home all five days but we’ll see. I'm not good with working from home and because my work is online, I'm staring at a screen all day. I take frequent breaks because I just cannot do it. At first it was good, but now I'm thankful for office days. I'm thankful to get out of the house and see other people, although I can't chat with them and be close to them like normal. Still, our safety is more important. I’m just trying to be positive. Be safe everybody!

Rebecca Francois

“College is supposedly the best four years of our lives. This may still prove right as I have three years to go.  However, I can’t help but feel a jolt of fear. This pandemic has left its mark on a global community that impacts our economy. Try as anyone may to stay calm, it’s a hard task to achieve when the routines that once grounded you are no longer functioning. I am grateful to my professors for their compassion. They have been great allies to us. Pointing my peers and me to resources. Reorganizing our syllabus to make sure we make it through this transition. We have fair chances at earning the grades our abilities and efforts garner us. Through many conversations with friends, I have found that some of my fears are shared. We are all afraid that we may graduate and enter the working world amidst a recession. I see updates on COVID-19 every day from numerous sources and rightfully so. However, I believe the public would also appreciate some understanding of where we stand financially.”

Ayanna Beach (Freshman, Fitchburg State University)

No one thought their lives would change so drastically because of COVID-19. It definitely was hard in the beginning to adjust to the changes, but I’m managing. The way I make sure that I’m staying sane inside the house and staying on top of my work is by planning out my entire day. This sounds crazy, but I noticed that when I did this I hold myself accountable for what I am supposed to do throughout the day or week. When I set up specific times for everything that I do then I stick to it. That way, I have no excuse for not being productive when I had my whole day planned out. Also by being stuck in the house, I’m taking this time to reflect on myself and who I am as a person; yes, being outside would be nice but self-awareness is important when you want to know who you are as a person; this is very important in life. This situation isn’t ideal, but it’s necessary to make sure we’re living better lives when things go back to what we knew it to be. I am honestly just trying to see the good side in all of this because it can be stressful.    


Emily Quinones (Senior, University of New Hampshire)

Managing school and life amidst COVID-19 has honestly been extremely difficult and uncertain. With my last semester of college coming to an abrupt stop and having to move everything back home within a matter of two hours, everything has been very overwhelming. Trying to stay focused for my online classes during this anxiety inducing pandemic is challenging; however I am trying my best to get through it. With the support of my friends, family and the West End House, I have all the resources to get through this which I am very grateful for. Practicing self-care and having a routine to bring normality back into this time of social distancing has helped a ton. Still, I'm not sure how I will proceed in my graduate school plans or moving out of state. Who knows when we will be able to travel or move forward with life or what jobs will be available to me. I'm probably going to adjust my plans, but it is scary and I hate the uncertainty.