Impact of COVID-19 on Student Media staff

Wow, what a crazy few weeks it has been. My name is Abbie Barth. I am the Editor in Chief of the Washburn Review. I am a junior studying secondary English education. I’ll be graduating in the Spring of 2022, so hopefully I will have a few more years with Student Media! Two weeks ago, I made the difficult decision of canceling the paper for the remainder of the semester due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It was an abrupt ending to a wonderful year of the publication, but I am so grateful for each week’s issue and that I was a part of such a wonderful campus news source. My goal for the publication was to share the good news as well as the bad, because the bad news seems to always be the loudest and the scariest. I am proud to see that Student Media is continuing to spread the good, as well as reporting on the bad during this scary time.

When I first learned that Washburn would be moving classes online, I was elated. “You mean I can do all of my classwork from the comfort of my own bed AND in my pajamas?” However, as this second half of the semester rolled in, I realized just how difficult it is to find that motivation to get your classwork done when all you can think about is your desperate need to go outside or see people again. I used to wish for days where I could work from home or spend my entire day inside watching Netflix, but now that it’s all we can do, I see that I took “my old life” for granted. I cannot wait for the moment where I can turn on the news and it’s not about the coronavirus. I cannot wait for the moment where I can finally sit in a restaurant and get my bottomless fries and Diet Coke. Most of all, I cannot wait for the moment where we are no longer feeling anxious about which one of our loved ones are going to get the virus and which city is going to shut down next. I keep saying that I cannot wait, but I can, and I will. I will wait so that my family can stay healthy, the elderly and medically fragile can rest easy, our brave medical professionals can do their jobs, and we can knock out this virus. I can sit in my house in boredom so that we have a life to return to when this all blows over, and so can you.

Hey y’all! I’m Alyssa Storm, a reporter for the Washburn Review. I’m a freshman mass media major with an emphasis on Journalism with a minor in political science. I enjoy hanging out with friends, doing crafts, baking, and chilling outside. Ever since the coronavirus has spread more rapidly, I had to leave Washburn University and Topeka and come home to western Kansas. It’s nice don’t get me wrong; I can do all of the things I enjoy, but it’s hard being away from my friends, my sorority sisters, and a place that easily became my home. I enjoy having alone time, but it’s hard to be an extrovert and not be able to go anywhere outside of your home. 

The coronavirus is affecting me because it turned me into a homebody very quickly. I enjoy being home and getting to spend time with my family, but I never realized how much time I would actually have if I couldn’t do anything. A lot of my time has been taken up by unpacking, reorganizing, online shopping, and baking. The one good thing about being stuck at home is that I have no excuse for not doing my homework; who would’ve thought that you can actually work again in your classes?! Not me. Because I’m too scared to leave my house, I’ve realized how creative I can be, which is kinda cool! Aside from homework, I’m having a lot of time to evaluate my life, which is scary but necessary. All in all, I can’t complain about the hobbit lifestyle; I just hope that this chaotic time will be over sooner rather than later, so people can go back to their life and everyone can be healthy again.

Hello, my name is Amanda Zoetmulder. I am a senior (graduating in December 2020) majoring in mass media with an emphasis in creative advertising and a minor in communication studies. After graduating, I was planning to teach English abroad in Japan, but I am finding that I may have to rethink my entire future.

Adjusting to COVID-19 has been weird, to say the least. I don’t mind being at home as I am typically a homebody, but I do miss getting to see my friends, going out and daily structure. To help adjust, my friends and I make sure to contact each other daily. We connect by doing group exercises together. The group exercise consists of sending videos of ourselves doing various exercises and making sure each one of us replies with a video of us doing the workout. This gives us a good laugh while staying connected and active.

One thing that is difficult for me during this pandemic is my senior capstone. As part of my senior capstone, I have to participate in 130 hours at an internship related to my major. I was planning to do my internship this summer, as the class is not available in the fall. Right before the craziness of this pandemic, I was interviewed at one of my top choices for a marketing internship. They recently got back to me and told me that I am their top candidate for the internship. However, they cannot extend the offer yet as they do not know how the pandemic will pan out and if there will be an event to market for this summer. This is difficult for me, because without this summer internship, I am not sure if I will be able to graduate on time. 


What’s happening, guys? I’m Joelle (Jo), the Online Editor in Chief of the Washburn Review. I am a senior mathematics and education major graduating in Dec. 2020. I love to read, paint, and be outside. The pandemic has put me in a funk, to be honest. I’m a very outgoing person and love to surround myself with people. Although I don’t mind being alone, I really don’t like to feel isolated. It’s been a huge adjustment for me being by myself most of the day, every day. I know I am doing my part in not spreading the virus, however.

Before this pandemic, I always kept myself busy with school, homework, student media, student instructing, waitressing, and being with my friends. I never felt like I “had time” to do the things I enjoy most. Now that I am in solitude every day, I have plenty of time to read books, work on paintings, do yoga and meditate, go on runs, and get ahead on my schoolwork (FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER). Am I doing all these things every day? Of course not. The stress of the pandemic and lack of reassurance of the future takes a toll on my mental health. I am pushing through the stress and depression and using this time to grow personally and spiritually and manifest my dreams. 


Hello, My name is Bailey, I am a freelance photographer for the Washburn Review. I am a freshman at Washburn University as a mass media major. I usually spend my free time outdoors, doing some new art projects, or even playing video games. This pandemic has turned my world upside down. I am happy to be home and relaxing a little, but this new schedule is hard to figure out. As a freshman, trying to balance my schooling at home has been hard. I only had one semester of normal classes and I felt like I just got adjusted to the change when this all started. Before all of this happened, going to classes and staying away from home on campus was something new, and something I was figuring out. I went on spring break thinking that I just figured out the schedule that worked for me; well, that all went out the window. 

I do see the positives in all of this chaos. This is a time for me to grow and focus on the things that I’ve never had the time to focus on. Even with not knowing what to do without my adviser, having personal or family struggles, it is nice to see that there can be some positive aspects of this pandemic. Now, am I getting a good amount of sleep and focusing extra hard on my classes? Maybe not, some would say I have been sleeping too much and procrastinating more than ever. But, we are working to get this new adjustment figured out. Everyone stay safe and look for the positives, and the High School Musical cast once said, “We’re all in this together!”


Hello, my name is Derek Blanchard. I am a mass media major and photographer for student media. I feel I am still trying to adjust to all my classes moving online. I had one class online and that was bad enough now all of them are online. It feels like I am not keeping up and it is impossible for me to get assistance for my learning disability.  I would much rather be in the classrooms getting one on one help and being on campus seeing the friends I have made in student media. I love being out and seeing other people and now I am confined to stay indoors. This pandemic has had a HUGE impact on my photography business. I was going to have the busiest April yet and now everything has been canceled even a wedding. At first, I was not as worried about me getting the virus but the number of cases keeps rising. I would like to get out more but I am playing it safe and staying home with my wife and our cat Callie. 

Hi! I’m Hailey Mann and I am in-charge of the Bod Magazine this year. COVID-19 has changed my life in a lot of ways like it has for many others. The biggest thing for me was accepting the cancellation of graduation. It’s hard for spring graduates that worked for this and to not have that special moment now. I have spent a lot of time these last few weeks getting used to working on everything from home. Between creating the Bod Magazine and online classes it’s been a challenge. I am taking it one day at a time.


Hi everyone, my name is Leah Jamison and I am the assistant editor of the Bod Magazine here at student media. Although COVID-19 is definitely a crazy time, it hasn’t impacted my life too much and the changes it has caused have been mostly positive for me. About a month ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a condition that causes widespread pain. My doctor told me I should quit two of my three jobs and slow down, but of course, I wasn’t going to do that.

Although COVID-19 definitely isn’t a good thing and my heart goes out to all the people it is impacting, it seems to be just what I needed. For the first time in years, I’m getting 8+ hours of sleep on a regular basis and actually turning in assignments days before they’re due! Because of the pandemic, I now have the time to take care of my body, relax, and do things that used to be last on my list of priorities. I’m getting to spend a lot of time with my family and pets which I am extremely thankful for. Being forced to slow down has shown me the importance of taking care of myself. Although I’m definitely ready to get back to normal life, I have a newfound appreciation for free time and relaxing.

I encourage you all to look for the bright side in this not so bright situation. Don’t let the bad stuff make you blind to the good stuff.


Hello everyone! I am Sangya Yogi, reporter of the Washburn Review. I am a freshman majoring in Marketing.  I am an international student from Nepal who has just moved to the United States two months ago, so the pandemic has brought challenges in my life. Firstly, I had just started to adjust to this new environment and started learning about campus. My life was going pretty well. I got my first job at college in Student Media and it’s been a week since I started working there. Suddenly this global pandemic came in our lives and everything went online. It’s been a constant change for me, but I am happy too as I am getting a chance to learn from this. I am getting familiar with the online system which is good. It may sound weird, but I am not bored at home. I engage myself all day doing something even if it is normal stuff like cleaning, cooking, going on a walk, or doing assignments. Yes, I get worried sometimes because staying away from family in this situation is not easy, but my family and I decided it would be safe to stay where you are rather than traveling. So, stay at home and stay positive. 


Hey! I’m Hannah, a copy editor and reviewer at the Washburn Review. I am a third-year English major and, unsurprisingly, a huge lover of reading. While the strange new era we have found ourselves in has been tough, I have appreciated the newfound open schedule to spend more quality time with my (immediate) family and crack into my to be read pile. I am a rather introverted person naturally too, so it might have been less of a change for me than others. Still, keeping up with schoolwork has been frustrating and much more taxing because I learn best engaging with my classmates and professors. It is comforting knowing that I am helping myself and others stay safe though. 

Prior to the shutdowns, I would go to class or one of my jobs and then in the evenings I would attempt fitting in a hobby, chores or exercise. I wasn’t nearly as successful before at making time, however. I feel like I’ve been able to work on myself and my goals more as a result of quarantines. I wish it wasn’t such a horrible event that spurred these positive changes in my life, but I do know I’ll come out on the other side with new energy. Of course, this pandemic is serious, scary and so much is unknown. I still can’t help but hope, somehow, the world will pull through stronger.


Heya y’all, Lou Collobert here, I am the equipment manager, duties as assigned guy, and photographer extraordinaire.  I am a mass media major with an emphasis in Creative Advertising. Why Creative Advertising? Why not? I have a load of skills for the Mass Media field already and wanted to learn something different that added to my skill list. 

Oh boy COVID-19 the overreaction by folks to this disease has been on an epic scale. Now, this disease is not a friendly one. Nor is it something to make light of, but I can’t help feeling that we are reacting more than what it is called for. So, like most Americans I am here sitting at my house counting the rolls of toilet paper, (it’s an upper respiratory disease why are folks stocking toilet paper?) trying to keep up with my work remotely, doing homework, and finally working down my “To Do” list. The scars that episode has to engender will take decades to fully heal. The only good thing to come from this disease is a forced relook at the American educational system, I have a funny feeling that billions will be spent improving the technology that we use and opening access across the board.


I’m Nick Solomon, Assistant of the Washburn Review. I am a junior criminal justice major, graduating sometime in 2021-2022. My other job has been affected negatively, but I am lucky to remain active at the Review. Having to move back to my hometown of Wamego, Kansas, where things are closed everywhere just as they are in Topeka: except in a much smaller town. Surprisingly, I am doing okay staying at home: I have my dogs and family to keep me company. However, that does not prevent me from slowly growing stir crazy. It does make me realize how much I enjoy just being around people: having co-workers, having a roommate, etc.

Things were going fine before the coronavirus shut down Washburn, having the extra job aside from Student Media to keep me occupied, and lifting at the rec along with school work to keep myself busy. Those have all been impacted immensely. I absolutely loved the people and the Professors in all my classes, and I wish that it was different. I’ve had to become resourceful with working out, and every day I miss the Rec as well as Crunch in Topeka. I was really hoping to work out of state in Idaho over the summer, but as of now, the future is really up in the air. At least I can grow my beard back, and catch up on various backlogs.


Hello, I’m Wesley or “Wes,” I am a freelance reporter and copy editor for the Washburn Review. I am a senior mass media major with an emphasis in contemporary journalism and a communication studies minor. I am planning on graduating this summer, in August, when I finish up my requirements online. 

First off, stay inside. Please stay inside. Even if you feel invincible – you’re not. Do your part because the fact is that asymptomatic individuals can spread the virus. If you don’t know what asymptomatic is then look it up. How do you know if you are asymptomatic? You don’t – that is why this virus continues to spread, among other factors. 

Alright. That is my two cents on the virus. 

Despite what I just stated, I do not like to spread fear. There are good things to come out of the current situation. You may find yourself having more time for the “little things” now. You may be doing activities you felt that you didn’t have time for prior to self-quarantine or isolation. 

With that said, I have started a series titled “TEACHING DURING A PANDEMIC.” 

It is all about what Washburn professors are doing right now to transition their course content online. Some classes have changed drastically – have you ever wondered what an art studio class now looks like online? Or an Orchestra course? This series will uncover what these courses look like in an online environment.  

Be on the lookout because the series will drop soon with a new entry coming each week until the end of the spring semester – and who knows – I may continue it into the summer. 

Stay safe, healthy and most of all – stay inside.

Edited by Adam White, Diana Martinez-Ponce, Joelle Conway