Martín Moreno – Georgetown University & LEDA Policy Corps Member

When all the students were called to move out of our dorms at Georgetown University, I was worried about how I was going to store my belongings and if I would be able to fly back home. The University had originally given us a three weeks notice to move out. However, as the probability of travel restrictions and the spread of the virus increased, the university had to move the date up by one week. The new deadline created more anxiety and pressure due to the constant change and unsuitability. I needed time to pack and move, but also didn’t want to get stuck in DC if further flight restrictions were enacted.

When the University announced the new move out date, the Georgetown Scholars Program (GSP), whose mission is to support first generation and low-income college students like me, was able to secure and cover free storage. GSP was able to cover over $400 in storage costs, 3 Large Boxes, allowing me to only worry about booking a flight back home. This didn’t entirely remove anxiety or fears, but it was helpful in meeting some of my most immediate needs. GSP has usually only covered costs for storage of 2 medium boxes for the summer, averaging a little over $100. During this difficult time, they went above my expectations which made me feel I was taken more in consideration for the situation.

Throughout the move out process, the University allowed classes to resume virtually but assignments were not due and exams were not allowed to be administered. This announcement allowed me to solely focus on the move out process and prepare to follow up on my assignments when I was back home.

Once I landed at home, it was relieving to know I had made it safely. But as I went to sleep that night, I knew that when I woke up, I had to make sure I followed up on my school assignments, readings, and class presentations. It has been quite difficult for me to concentrate and do my school work at home. When I was in high school, I always studied at the public library after school because I knew that at home I could not focus. Now I do not have that option and it is hard to find a quiet space at home to study, especially now since everyone is home all of the time and noise carries very easily in our home.

My family’s finances have also been strained and my parents’ ability to work has diminished. My father’s restaurant job has fewer hours and my mother’s hair salon job is closed. I typically work three jobs during the semester and those have moved virtually with the ability to work a few hours. I am grateful that I am being compensated for the time that I would have worked at my federal work study job which has provided additional financial support to support my family.

It has been quite the transition since Covid-19 hit the US, but I am grateful for the ways that Georgetown University has supported me through the process. This has been a lot for all of us to handle, but providing flexibility, extra financial support to move, and work study wages has made all of the difference for me.