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Word on the Street: UNC students adjusted for an unusual Labor Day weekend


Ashanti Greene (far right) and coworkers welcome back residents at Gwynedd Estates, a retirement community, on July 2, 2020. Photo courtesy of Ashanti Greene.

This Labor Day weekend, some UNC students adjusted to the realities of having to spend a normally eventful break amid a pandemic. 

For some, COVID-19 has altered the plans of students living away from family and friends who were looking forward to the pause from school.

“For this weekend, I was supposed to go home and see my family in Virginia, but with the shifts in all the deadlines and test dates given — you know, the two days that we had off for the transition to online learning — that’s kind of put me in a tough place,” said Amber Amparo, a UNC sophomore majoring in biology. “It’s a little bit bothersome that I’m put in this position, but you know, there’s students that are international that can’t see their families for the whole academic year.”

Schedule changes for the semester made Labor Day weekend fall right before major tests for many students, unlike how it normally falls on the second week of school. 

“Usually, there would’ve been zero work to do, so there would’ve just been massive groups of people going to the beach,” said Brian Liu, a junior majoring in economics and statistics. “But, no, I have a lot of work to do. I have an exam on Tuesday I need to study for.” 

For Ashanti Greene, a first-year student majoring in psychology, her Labor Day weekend was spent working full-time as a dietary aide at a retirement home. 

“I’m one who typically works on holidays and it’s always pretty weird because everyone’s kind of doing something, everyone has plans and I’m just like, ‘I’m going to work,’” she said.  

Greene said this Labor Day was especially different for her as she works with high-risk residents. 

“I’ve had to play a bigger role because, you know, they're not allowed to see their families, they’re not allowed to go out and not allowed to do a lot of things,” she said. “All of them are pretty much depressed. It's really sad but I have to talk to them, make sure they’re mentally stable, which they’re not, but you pick up, you do more.” 

For Lynne Chen, a senior majoring in advertising and public relations, the long weekend is a reminder of the need to shift her mindset toward safety this year. 

“It’s definitely hard, obviously not ideal and not what I thought it would be,” she said. “But I think at this point I’m just trying to stay safe and make the most of it."

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