The pandemic saved me financially

Columnist Akilah Winters. Photo courtesy Winters

Back in March, the pandemic began to sweep across our nation. We lost  many lives over the summer, and continue to see hundreds die daily. 

Life as we know it changed and our normal became six feet apart and paper or cloth masks everywhere we go. No one could leave their houses. We were all trapped in our own tiny prisons with the longing fear of catching the virus and dying. 

In the beginning of the pandemic, many of us did not know the seriousness of the virus — especially with the president downplaying it. Many experts did not know much about the virus at first. 

For me, the pandemic allowed me to attend fall classes and it allowed me to come back to FAMU despite my run-ins with financial aid. Although I was still stuck in Tallahassee for months due to the growing fear of traveling in the middle of the pandemic and taking the 12-hour drive to get back home to the Florida Keys, I was fortunate enough to continue my studies here.

Without the refund that was given to students for the semester being cut short as a result of the pandemic, I would have had a balance well over the $500  and would not have been permitted to take classes this fall semester. 

In the beginning of the spring semester, I ran out of financial aid and did not have enough money to pay for my meal plan that I had to get because of the residence hall I was staying in. I was scrounging for last-minute scholarships to stay and take fall classes. Even though the reopening plan was not yet developed at that time, I would have had to take a semester off and then continue my studies. This would have devastated my plan to graduate and I possibly would not have been able to come back to FAMU at all.

For a rising junior who will finally be fully immersed in journalism classes, taking a semester off would have delayed my time to graduate and cost me more money than I had intended to spend on college. 

The pandemic has taken so many lives and has cost many hardships. Even though people still fear the virus and are trying to mitigate the spread of it, people are still trying to live their lives as comfortably and safely as possible. Although the pandemic has caused me many hardships as well, I am glad that I was able to return back to the college of love and charity.