146 Behind the Mask

Morgan Goff

College is a onetime experience in life and now that is being limited to the students around the world. Covid-19 is a virus that is spreading throughout the globe. The effects of this virus have caused businesses to shut down completely and put the entire world in quarantine. Furthermore, this causes a lot of limitations within the area of Pikeville, such as going out with family and other activities. College is the hardest part for first year students because of how hard the transitioning is from high school. The biggest part of college is your social interaction and building your character as others see you but due to the global pandemic; students must follow the guidelines for our safety. Masks are used to protect the user from receiving the virus, CDC has confirmed that masks are by far the most public powerful tool they have against the virus. This causes a lot of problems with students around the globe trying to find a way to fit in at the college, masks prevent us from showing our identity to other students and make it very tough to meet and greet new people and possibly our new friends.


Social Interaction is a very useful factor in our mental health. Depression, stress and loneliness can be treated by family members and friends. Surrounded by the people you love can reduce the amount of stress one is inflicted with and give them a positive state of mind. People must be social blue to form bonds and connections high releases chemical compounds giving you feelings and emotion. The importance of social interaction is to create and make bonds that will last a lifetime. College students will struggle making friends by following the mask guidelines, preventing us from seeing who we are as people. Communication is a huge factor in social interaction by using speech, gestures, and facial expressions. Masks save us and each other from this virus but it kills our opportunity to truly experience college to the full potential and prevent us from forming a friend group. The only example I have is from my own experience, wearing a mask every day on campus is very hard to interact with other students and create bonds with one another. Facial expressions are used in interacting with one another and with the masks we cannot tell if someone is happy or depressed, another real-life example was me trying to have a conversation and smile to the person I’m interacting with and it just destroys the mood. Students around the globe understand that college is the chance to start fresh and make new friends but it’s difficult following the guidelines and a lot are dealing with depression and loneliness.


Quarantine has caused students to have increase in depression by not socially interacting with other students on campus. WKTV has interviewed students and asking them how they feel about quarantine and students have said it feels like prison. The University of Pikeville did very well with handling the pandemic and gave first year students a great welcoming to the campus. Virtual was forced to the students at UPike due to an outbreak of Covid-19 causing all of students to be quarantined and campus shutting down. Students are left with a choice of having in person classes or go online and there is no telling which is better, it all depends on how you work as a student. Classes such as nursing are needed to be in person to get the full amount of education and credit to succeed. Most students work better in person and this can also lead to stress and depression by being housed for quarantine. Virtual has killed student’s GPA by not being fully educated properly and causing a lot of home distractions such as family problems and other troubles. Students use college as a getaway from home life (for the ones staying at home). The students on campus can be stuck with a roommate for days and unable to go to activities. Virtual classes can really hurt a student’s college experience as well as their GPA.


The corona virus (Covid-19) has really changed the world as we know it. The guidelines make us stay 6 feet apart, wearing a mask, and multiple safety procedures we must act on. This shutdown going to the college’s activities such as parties, gatherings, and sport events. The amount of opportunities we have as students are being stripped away by the virus. We could all prevent another shutdown of the college if we sterilize ourselves and making sure we have a stable temperature going in and out of buildings. This could work with a lot of school gatherings and other events. Problems with the virus is causing students to quarantine and this is going to be a problem with trying to make our students feel home away from home, but the catch is that by having our students locked in their dorms will prevent them from going to get food. Sourced by Matthew J. Landry he speaks of students going hungry in quarantine and talks about high percentage rates of students dropping out of college. Food security is the serving the food to its best condition. One spring report found that 38% of students were food insecure in the previous 30 days (sourced by Matthew J. Landry).


The University of Pikeville has been an alright experience as a first-year student it’s just very dull, but you cannot blame the college for this because the world is going through something we have never experienced in our lives. I do believe wearing a mask the entire time at the college does limit our opportunities to interact with other students and build those relationships we need for our mental health. Social Interaction is the hardest thing for all students. Masks have made it hard to communicate by facial expressions and even speaking by having to constantly repeat yourself. The look on everyone’s face at the college makes us seem like zombies. I like to smile a lot during a conversation because that’s how I use facial expressions to cooperate but with the masks is makes it seem like I’m being awkward and kills the mood. The faculty have tried their best to give us an easy time at Upike and my biggest struggle is online but that’s on me. I’m proud of being a bear at Upike and I believe we can come out strong as a family.


The world as we know has changed and has led to a ton of adversity. Wearing masks has took our ability to interact with each other and create friendships and relationships that could’ve possibly lasted forever. College is a onetime experience and I believe that every student should have the chance to have a great time and make everlasting memories because we are only guaranteed one life and I’d hate for anyone to have any regrets. This project was to talk about the types of depression we face during quarantine, food problems, anxiety, stress, social interaction and mainly to find out our foundation as grown adults, because college is where we make our mark.








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Behind the Mask by Morgan Goff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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