CUH Students Face Unique Challenges During Stay-At-Home Order


Morgan Sharman

Third-year Environmental Studies major Morgan Sharman on a visit with her dad in late March.

It has now been a little bit over a month since Gov. David Ige called for a stay-at-home order on March 25.

After checking in with a few Chaminade University of Honolulu students, it is clear that staying home for six weeks has posed unique challenges for everyone.

For third-year Communications major Brenna Flores, feeling stuck in her Waipahu home with five other family members has been one of the toughest aspects of the stay-at-home order she is having to endure. 

“Coronavirus really be affecting me, you know,” Flores said. “I feel weak, man, like I’m going insane a little bit.”

Since leaving the house to go to school, work, or the gym is out of the equation, Flores considers confining herself in her room to be the only outlet she has left. But even then, she said staying tucked away in her room only lasts so long, as bathroom breaks, mealtimes, and pestering siblings make her safe place a temporary escape.   

On the opposite end of the spectrum, third-year Environmental Studies major Morgan Sharman has been struggling with being so far away from her family. She is currently at her mother’s home in Anastasia Island, Florida , where she says life is somewhat normal. In the meantime, her aunt is putting her health on the line each day working as a nurse in New York. Sharman’s father is also an essential worker (a construction worker), and although he only lives 25 minutes away, she has been unable to stay with or even hug him. Her grandmother also only lives a couple hours away but visits have been restricted as the 81-year-old woman is considered to be at a higher risk for severe illness.

Although Sharman misses and worries about the well-being of her family members, she considers herself to be in a relatively good position. 

“Selfishly, I miss doing normal things like going to a coffee shop or going to the thrift store,” she said. “But people are dying, so I consider myself lucky. Our beaches are open. As long as our beaches are open I can pretty much be fine no matter what’s going on.”

For a handful of students, their struggle lies in staying motivated to make that final push needed to wrap up the school year. Environmental Studies major Kamalei Matsumura is finding it difficult to grind out her school work from her home in Big Island, especially moving into finals week. On top of that, without the excitement of being on campus for the last few days of the semester, the senior said that she hardly feels as though she is about to graduate. 

Matsumura is joined by many in her lack of motivation to do school work through a distance-learning format. Third-year English major Nick Roman said he is more of a hands-on learner and therefore prefers to learn in a classroom setting. He attributes much of his lack of motivation to the fact that he is easily distracted. 

Brittany Ganzelli also struggles with staying focused and said that being productive, in general, has been incredibly challenging. The Communications sophomore said it’s hard to feel like she is still in school during this global pandemic. Ganzelli mentioned the pressure that she feels from having to move out of her dorm room into a Pauoa apartment, keep up with school, and maintain her sanity despite the hectic world around her. 

“I even miss my teachers,” Ganzelli said. “I wish we had Zoom classes more often so I could see them more. But above everything, I just feel grateful for the things that I do have. Because even though we are all trapped in our houses, at least we have nice houses to be trapped in, right?”