To Return or Not to Return?

Students discuss the post-pandemic reopening.

Mardeen Ahmad

Grossmont and Cuyamaca College students have now spent more than two semesters at home in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout that year, rumors about reopening and closing have spread consistently but after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he wants all California colleges to open after June 15, there has been serious talk about returning to campus. Grossmont College students, however, have differing opinions on the matter. 

Helen Peromari, 24, is in her third year at Grossmont and just recently had a baby this past February. The baby’s name is Leia and Peromari said she is the definition of a handful. “Literally fits in my hand,” she said about her daughter. 

With a newborn baby, remote classes are ideal for someone like Peromari. “Online classes are a student-mother’s dream. I could feed Leia with one hand and take notes with the other. I’m really hoping this transition is going to be gradual,” she said. 

Now I have the luxury of stressing over what matters like grades and work assignments rather than things like finding parking on campus half an hour before class, or frantically buying a blue book before an important exam”

— Helen Peromari

Peromari also said she felt like this pandemic was a learning lesson to the nation about work-life balance. “Now that we’ve had a chance to be home, me and most people I know have realized that the 40-hour work or school week was just too much. I don’t know how I would have had my first child pre-pandemic,” she said. 

Peromari also said she gets anxiety over the thought of going back to the way things used to be. She said working and going to school remotely has reduced her stress levels dramatically. “Now I have the luxury of stressing over what matters like grades and work assignments rather than things like finding parking on campus half an hour before class, or frantically buying a blue book before an important exam,” Peromari said. 

On the other end of the spectrum, Yousif Jabro, 20, is elated to get back to in-person classrooms. “I never thought this would be me, but I miss sitting in a classroom with other students,” he said. 

Jabro, who is transferring to UC San Diego this fall, said he’s excited about transferring to a new campus and wants to be able to explore it. “College is supposed to be where you meet your life-long friends, possibly even your spouse,” he said. “I’ve been in college about two years now and one out of those two years has been spent at home. That’s pretty much half of my college experience.” 

I never thought this would be me, but I miss sitting in a classroom with other students.”

— Yousif Jabro

Although Jabro is excited to go back to school in person, he said public health comes before his feelings. “I just want to make clear that no matter how bored I am, that will never be more important than keeping people safe,” he said. 

“Spending my college years inside does suck, but for me, that is the extent of it,” Jabro added. “People have lost loved ones. So the ideal situation would obviously be whatever is safest.” 

While a lot of details still need to be worked out on the reopening of Grossmont and Cuyamaca campuses, students can follow as new updates are being made on the GCCCD COVID-19 webpage.

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