Summer vacation is approaching, but many of these plans, specifically students, are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Final exams, papers and projects are upon the student body at Spring Hill and the college is looking forward to a more positive summer in spite of campus closing over a month ago. But it is going to be hard to find a more positive summer with much of it going to ruins because of the pandemic. Plans including summer internships, traveling and sports have all been interfered with because of the virus. A handful of students were interviewed about how their plans have changed, and how they are dealing with it.
Summer internships have dominated higher education by providing willing students, an opportunity to experience work in their desired fields and majors. Even in the Spring Hill curriculum, many majors require students to acquire internships to graduate. Leland Reames, a rising Senior, majoring in Marketing and Management, was scheduled to intern with Cape Horn Boats in the Marketing and Sales department. When asked how this has affected him, Reames commented, “As soon as the outbreak started and we were sent home from campus, I contacted what would have been my boss and he said its, unfortunately, looking doubtful, especially since they are having to let off numerous employees.” Not only does this affect Reames, and the experience he would have gotten, but it also affects the potential income he would have gotten since it was a paid internship.
International Business major, and rising Senior as well, Brandon Balnoschan, was supposed to work for an aviation company as a project manager intern for maintenance of private airplanes and that has also been cut due to the virus. Balnoschan said, “The company contacted me a couple of weeks ago saying they were monitoring the current situation and would most likely be moving the start day back a couple of weeks.” Balnoschan received a call this past Wednesday that he was no longer needed due to continuous travel regulations, and the virus itself. He then added, “My plan now is to work for my dad’s company and to help out any way that I can to gain experience and earn an income this summer.” These are only just a couple of students receiving terrible news about their summer work as this has impacted, more importantly, the soon to be graduates looking for work.
This hasn’t only affected students looking for work, but student-athletes participating in summer leagues. Grant Atwood, of the Spring Hill Baseball team, had plans to attend a summer baseball league in the North Dakota/Canada area immediately following classes, but that has been pushed back, and potentially getting canceled. Atwood commented, “Due to the coronavirus, my summer plans might change because if the league gets canceled, which is highly likely, I will have to find a job. And getting employed during this time is hard to come by.” This has put him in a bind, as well as many other student-athletes, because not only do they not know if they will have a promised chance of playing, they are put in a bind if they should try to find work or not. And as mentioned above, the virus is taking its toll on employment right now. Atwood, who will be a Redshirt Senior pitcher for the Badgers, looks to be a leader for the team, and dominate against opponents, but with this virus affecting his improvement and experience on the mound, the pitcher looks to keep in shape through at home work-outs and stretching.
It has also affected travel and leisure plans. A group of graduating seniors, who commonly refer to themselves as “Vibe Check,” have experienced the poor timing of the virus and travel restrictions. The group who was scheduled to travel for three weeks in Europe soon after graduating have been forced to stay at home for now and look for better options this summer. One of the participating members, Emily Sullivan, said, “We were counting on those weeks to celebrate graduation and make memories. As of now, we’re unsure if we can reschedule our trip all together. Even though i'm trying to be hopeful, I know there’s nothing we can do about our plans… the only thing we can do is hope for the best!” What took earned savings, weeks of planning, and commitment of graduating seniors have been destroyed. The group continues to stay in touch through ZOOM calls with many of the fellow underclassmen that enjoyed the year with them.
With signs of the curve flattening and states starting to ease up stay-at-home restrictions, it looks like there is light at the end of the tunnel, but for students in search of better plans, not so much. Temperatures are rising on the Hill, and Summer is almost in session, but it will be an unprecedented summer as plans all over have been put to shreds.