New Stories

Check In with Pitt-Greensburg Seniors 

by Miranda Smith

The Insider wanted to check up on some of Pitt-Greensburg’s graduating seniors to see how COVID-19 has affected their final weeks at Pitt-Greensburg. 

Corrine Silvio is a biochemistry major with a psychology minor. The change from in person to online classes was, at first, hard for her to accept.  

Q: How did you react to campus closing and classes switching to online? 

A: I was devastated to say the least. In one swift email, my last month and half of my college experience was taken from me for reasons I understand. I was upset I wouldn’t get the typical lasts a senior in college would get. 

Q: How are you coping with losing the final weeks of your undergraduate career? 

A: At first, I couldn’t even speak without tearing up. I was ready to finish the semester surrounded by the friends I’ve made over the last four years. Now, I understand that it’s not the end, that I will be able to see and hang out with them again. I understand this doesn’t mean life is over, it’s just on pause for a while.  

Q: Do you find it more difficult to get schoolwork done now that you are at home? Why or why not? 

A: Absolutely. There are so many distractions here like renovations, siblings walking in on video calls, and all the books on my shelf that I want to get to. It almost feels like I’m done and have no work to do, but that is definitely not the case.  

Q: How are your professors helping you succeed with the current situation? 

A: My professors have been very understanding and flexible with scheduling meetings and deadlines. I am babysitting for a nurse currently and that takes up my time during prime teaching and meeting hours. However, I let them know what was going on and they were open to helping me in whatever way they could.  

Q: How has COVID-19 impacted your final weeks as a senior? 

A: Where to begin? It started when our Spain Study Abroad trip was cancelled three days before departure. Then, the Tri-Beta regional and national conferences where my partner and I were going to present our research got cancelled. With the campus closing, we couldn’t even finish all the experiments. I was also excited for Honors Convocation.  

Q: How has COVID-19 effected your life outside of school? 

A: I work in childcare with a school program, and it is closed until it is deemed safe to reopen. My sister and I were to attend the BTS concert in May, but it was postponed to an unknown date. Also, my sister just turned 16 on St. Patrick’s Day and wasn’t able to get her permit because the DMV had closed that day. 

Q: What are your thoughts on graduation? 

A: I’m truly just glad it isn’t cancelled. However, my roommates and I joked that if it had been cancelled we would meet up on Chambers Lawn and walk across it in cap and gown when this all blows over. 

Q: Was there anything else you were looking forward to that was cancelled due to COVID-19? 

A: I just miss the normalcy of daily life. I miss being outside, going to restaurants with friends, walking through the mall or a museum. This whole situation is making me realize how often I took everyday life for granted. That’s something I don’t intend to do anymore when this is all said and done.  

Q: What is the first thing you plan to do once this is all over? 

A: I am going to drive the three hours out to Pittsburgh to see my friends again. Then, I’m going to take a weekend trip to wherever I want to go at the time. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this, it’s to take advantage of every minute you can.   

Jared Hoffman is a communication major with a concentration in business. He was looking forward to a lot of events coming up at the end of the semester.  

Q: How did you react to campus closing and classes switching to online? 

A: At first, I was extremely upset and unhappy about the situation. I felt confused and very concerned. Suddenly everything was up in the air, and it seemed like there wasn’t much guidance from the University on what was taking place. All I knew was we were not coming back. It didn’t help that I was sitting on the beach in Miami when the email came through and was no where close to home or close to any family to help me cope with the initial shock. Once the University explained the plan thoroughly, I felt a bit better. Since it has been a few weeks now, I really understand why the University did this. I am not mad at the University, but I am still very upset that we are not on campus together. I have to admit, I cried a bit, this has been a very emotional process. 

Q: How are you coping with losing the final weeks of your undergraduate career? 

A: I absolutely hate it. I do not like the online format whatsoever. I feel like the carpet was pulled out from under me. Events I looked forward to gone, events I had put much time into planning gone. Jobs I was interviewing for gone. Literally everything is gone. Every day I wish this was over, I wish it was a bad dream, but it’s not. I just try to continue to focus on my work and remember that we only have a couple more weeks until this nightmare is over.  

Q: Do you find it more difficult to get schoolwork done now that you are at home? Why or why not? 

A: It is significantly harder, there is no format, there is not structure. Most of my professors have stopped teaching classes and just give us material to look at. It is hard for me to learn that way. I dread every minute I have schoolwork to do because I know I will struggle to complete it.  

Q: How are your professors helping you succeed with the current situation? 

A: Every one of my professors have been very supportive. Most are available to zoom with for some type of office hours and everyone is available over email. These professors are trying the best they can with what they have and the skills they have. I think each and every one is trying their best no matter what they are doing. These professors are heroes because they are still trying so hard to support us no matter what. I can’t thank them enough! 

Q: How has COVID-19 impacted your final weeks as a senior? 

A: Absolutely, I was set to host a communication career panel for Lambda Pi Eta, I was heartbroken to cancel it. I put a lot of time into the event. I also am sad to miss many of the things that happen during the final weeks, including the white-water rafting trip that takes place yearly. I also really miss just spending time with my friends on campus.  

Q: How has COVID-19 effected your life outside of school? 

A: I lost two jobs in one day. The day the University closed, I lost my jobs at the admissions office as a Pitt Pal. Luckily, Pitt has been gracious enough to pay us through the end of the semester. I also work for Darden Restaurants Inc. and I tried to transfer to a restaurant where I live, but then the state closed all the restaurants down. I have no idea if I will ever return to Darden, however they also have been gracious enough to pay us for three weeks. I have had to be doing side gig work such as delivering through Instacart, DoorDash, and Postmates putting my life at risk just to make an income. I was also supposed to return to Europe this summer which is in limbo. I have no idea if I’ll be able to lifeguard this summer either which is one of my passions. I feel like life is cancelled.  

Q: What are your thoughts on graduation? 

A: I am extremely excited to be done with school. I don’t want to be doing this online stuff anymore. I will also say this, it is incredibly honorable and gracious that Pitt has promised us that we will have a ceremony at a later time when it is permissible for us all to come together. The respect I have to this University for promising us a graduation is unbelievable. I am so proud to be a Pitt student, and everyone should be because they are doing something not every university is going to do. I would be heartbroken is graduation got cancelled like it has at so many other universities. Thank you, Pitt, for supporting us! 

Q: Was there anything else you were looking forward to that was cancelled due to COVID-19? 

A: I really looked forward to having an induction ceremony for Lambda Pi Eta. I also looked forward to the award ceremony, since I was a DaVinci Scholar. However, I think there will be chance to get recognized in the future, and I will just be happy to graduate in the future.  

Q: What is the first thing you plan to do once this is all over? 

A: Go on vacation somewhere. I want to go to Miami again to enjoy my vacation instead of worrying about COVID-19. I could also go for a cruise or any trip anywhere.  

Larissa Nemchik is a psychology major with a minor in criminal justice. With campus closing, she had a lot to figure out before leaving.  

Q: How did you react to campus closing and classes switching to online? 

A: I was on campus during spring break due to my study abroad program cancelling, so when I heard the RD’s hanging up the move out sign that morning before the initial email was sent out, my heart felt crushed when I realized how real this all was. I was lucky enough to have been on campus to get my questions answered from ResLife staff right then and there, but honestly, I couldn’t help but break down realizing I had to fine a new plan with living arrangements.  

Q: How are you coping with losing the final weeks of your undergraduate career? 

A: At first, I took things very hard since I have been living on campus for 7 consecutive semesters without ever packing up and leaving due to working as a CA. This has become my real home, and realizing I only had a few days to say my goodbyes to all the other CAs, my best friends, my residents, and even faculty and staff was crushing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ready to graduate and start my life, but not being able to give proper goodbye to my peers or the campus really hit me hard. I’m at the point of acceptance right now, but it has taken a lot to get to this point.  

Q: Do you find it more difficult to get schoolwork done now that you are at home? Why or why not? 

A: It’s been an odd experience trying to get my work done now that I’m off campus. I’m able to get my schoolwork done while at work since my job right now is to just sit in a car and patrol a certain area for trespassers and suspicious activity during social distancing. However, it’s been difficult to video chat into some classes on Zoom due to not having WiFi at work.  

Q: How are your professors helping you succeed with the current situation? 

A: To add to the last question, my professors have been so helpful during this crazy time. I’ve been in contact with most of them to figure out how to handle my situation with class time, and they’ve all been extremely helpful and understanding that my situation is not ideal, but can still work to finish out the semester. Dr. Holler, Dr. Confer, and Gayle Pamerleau have especially been helpful with things. They’ve all checked in on me and my situation showing the upmost care and support during this time.  

Q: How has COVID-19 impacted your final weeks as a senior?  How has COVID-19 effected your life outside of school? 

A: COVID-19 has impacted so much in my senior year. It started with my study abroad in Spain spring trip being cancelled due to precautions of the virus. I’m glad the precaution was made now knowing how bad things could have been being quarantined somewhere else, but it’s just heartbreaking that I’ll never get this same experience to study abroad with scholarships and financial aid to cover the costs, be able to have structured learning for college credit, and especially get to travel to another country with some of my best friends. Since I’ve also had to move off campus, I’ve moved into an apartment with three others and my ESA, which has been costly due to pet policies, figuring out rent payments, groceries, and much more  that I wouldn’t have had to worry about at the same time I should only be focused on academics. I’ve been working one job anywhere from 30-45 hours a week, and I’m about to start a second part time job at a nearby hospital just to prepare myself better at this time. Besides this all, I’m missing out on some of the best final weeks of college. The list includes: Presidential Ambassador breakfasts/inductions and senior recognition, GEM inductions, honors convocation, relay for life, reslife end of the year banquet, senior send off, bucket nights with close friends, my staff’s last staff bonding with RD Noelia, 4-5 programs with my residents and staff, many other events and trips with my friends, saying goodbye to my close best friends, residents, professors and faculty and staff members, oh and GRADUATION. 

Q: What are your thoughts on graduation? 

A: As for graduation, I really hope that Pitt allows its branch campuses to all have graduation in person rather than over Zoom or not have it at all. As a presidential ambassador, I’ve worked that last few graduations and have been really looking forward to this milestone achievement to show off my hard work and dedication not only to my academics and future career, but all the extra curriculums I’ve participated in over the years as an extremely active student. Even if postponed for months until it is safe to have larger groups together – even if only the students and the faculty, I’d rather have this grand event with my fellow classmates as one last event together.  

Q: Was there anything else you were looking forward to that was cancelled due to COVID-19? 

A: There are a few weddings and vacations I was going to this summer that are cancelled at this point due to the virus, so that’s a bummer to not get the chance to relax and celebrate. 

Q: What is the first thing you plan to do once this is all over? 

A: After this pandemic is over and I can leave the house, without a doubt, my friends and I are all going to get together, enjoy some good food and drinks out, and have a fire where we can all just play games and enjoy ourselves. I’m also going to see my grandmother who I haven’t been able to come in close contact with due to her weak immune system. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: