The Balancing Act

EvCC students continue to face economic and educational uncertainty.


Photo by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash

The pandemic has caused both campus and local businesses to close down, leaving students to struggle with uncertainty.

COVID-19 has completely flipped the world on its head. While all students are suffering from the challenges and consequences of trying to adapt to a completely new way of learning, college students, in particular, are struggling with the difficulties of paying for it. The beating the economy has taken left many with reduced or changed hours, and some without jobs at all. This has made the decision of returning to a new school system less appealing to some, and impossible for others. 

Ariana Mariscal, an alum of Everett Community College, missed out on three months of work before finally receiving her unemployment, only to return to a job with many new changes in hours and restrictions. “When we came back there were a lot of new rules. All our fitting rooms were closed, we had to wear gloves and masks 24/7 and had to clean all the time. A lot of people quit when it was time to return, and because of that my store had me working a lot of hours,” said Mariscal, a part-time employee at a department store. She was scheduled to work up to 50 hours a week on top of her new online classes. 

While some students like Mariscal had to face the difficulty of fluctuating work hours and responsibilities while balancing school, others faced the dilemma of losing stable financial income altogether. More than 25 million jobs have been lost in the United States during the pandemic. While the economy is slowly healing, according to MarketWatch only 42 percent of those jobs have returned as of Aug. 7. Data from a new survey by the Pew Research Center found that one out of every four adults has had difficulty paying their bills since the pandemic started, while one out of every three adults has been forced to use their savings or retirement funds to get by. 

With bills and payments not looking to slow down any time soon, returning to school has not been a priority for many. “It is a concerning matter moving forward because not all students are fortunate enough to come from a rich family or receive scholarships. Most students work to pay for college, but this pandemic has made paying for college a little more challenging,” said current EvCC undergraduate Anthony Campos when asked for concerns about rising prices of school while navigating through the midst of a pandemic.

Campos is currently studying for a certificate to become an Aviation Maintenance Technician, a program

EvCC student Anthony Campos. (Courtesy photo from Anthony Campos)

like many here at EvCC, where hands-on learning is essential. Campos said, ”I was looking forward to working on labs in the hangar, but that is put on hold till November.” Unfortunately for students of the aviation program, an announcement has been made by our EvCC President Dr. Daria J. Willis, stating that a student studying Aviation Maintenance Technology at Paine Field has reported positive for COVID-19 as of Oct. 6. As instances like this continue to occur, students like Campos may face delays in their plans to graduate. 

Labs or not, hands-on in-person learning will always be different from online classes. Students like Kyah Nelson plan to wait until spring quarter and continue to save up money due to a multitude of different factors. “I am definitely a hands-on learner, it is extremely hard for me to pay attention over the phone or computer so I would prefer to pursue my major when it’s safer and when I know I’ll put forth my best effort,” said Nelson.

With the ever-changing challenges and consequences of this new pandemic driven life, the only thing certain for EvCC students is continued economic and educational uncertainty. “As soon as I can provide enough money for the next quarter I will be excited to come back.” says Nelson.