By: Daniel Melool and Elisheva Kohn  | 

We Asked, Y(O)U Answered: Shifting Priorities

Transitioning to remote learning and dealing with new health and financial concerns that were spurred by the pandemic have prompted students to reevaluate their priorities with regards to their families, course load and other areas of life. The Commentator collected a few reflections by current students on how the pandemic has shifted their priorities. 

Ezra Emerson (SYMS ‘23) 

Major: Marketing

In terms of my top three priorities, my wellbeing is one, then what classes and work I have each day to do is second, and to have some socializing time is my third. Before the pandemic, they were not as significant to me as they are now, so yes, they definitely have changed. I watch a lot of TV now, which is not good. Also, Instagram and stuff like that take up more than it should. Zoom makes school feel painful. 

Yosef Rosenfield (YC ‘21)

Major: Music

After the pandemic started, my priorities became school-related commitments, family matters and musical pursuits. Before the pandemic, I was in a dormitory, so my family matters were not as big a priority. I was also the starting right fielder for the Yeshiva Maccabees baseball team. My focus has definitely shifted from strictly schoolwork to "extracurricular" editorial positions that I occupy. However, I cannot in good faith attribute that shift to the pandemic. What the pandemic has shifted, though, is my time management. I began job hunting over winter break and had to pause my search given my insane workload this semester. It has thus not affected my performance as a student, but rather vice versa. I have also found dating to be a more difficult pursuit during the pandemic than before, but that difficulty has forced me to concentrate on my heavy workload and ultimately preserved my wellbeing (whereas trying to date — even without a pandemic — with so much on my plate would likely have taken a toll on my wellbeing). Having had my introverted personality fueled and strengthened by the effects of the pandemic, I am finding myself even less willing to participate in social activities or at all engage with people outside my family.

Anonymous (SCW ‘23)

Major: English

My priorities include: getting out of the house more, keeping up with schoolwork and living healthy. Before the pandemic, all three were easier. I also prioritized people less at that time than I do now. My focus can't shift much from school because it takes much more effort now than before. It does take more time, as there are less options. It takes time away from schoolwork. I am not dating currently, but socializing has become very difficult, especially for someone who’s an introvert by nature. It's become virtually impossible and life gets very isolated. I took things for granted before Covid. 

Baruch Lerman (YC ‘23)

Major: Biochemistry and Psychology

Family, pursuing a career in medicine and Judaism are my top three priorities in life right now. Before the pandemic, they were the same  — family, medicine and Judaism.  They haven’t really changed; though I have become closer to my family due to living at home. I’m still very focused on school, so that hasn’t changed much. I am not concerned about getting a job yet, so that hasn’t been affected by the pandemic. Dating is definitely more difficult now, and has had a detrimental effect on my mental health from not being able to see people face-to-face.


Photo Caption: Illustration of a surgical mask

Photo Credit: Pixabay