Year in review: COVID-19, isolation transformed VCU students’ lives

“New Lines.” December 2020. Stay-at-home orders forced junior photography student Sophie Pimpinella to explore the complexities of the relationship with her mother. Photo by Sophie Pimpinella

Ebonique Little, Spectrum Editor

A university-wide announcement on March 11, 2020, upended the lives of many VCU students, who learned that a typical one-week spring break would be extended to two. The COVID-19 pandemic, which felt so distant before, was then present in the lives of college students worldwide. 

A safe return seemed far. VCU buildings were locked, and the once bustling campus was void of student life. Weeks of this new reality turned into months, and months became a year. Compounded with racial justice protests, 2020 was difficult for many to endure. 

The Commonwealth Times asked its readers what the COVID-19 pandemic has looked and felt like in their lives. We’ve selected a range of photo submissions from VCU students that visualize their perspectives of the past year.

“Body.” September 8, 2020. Junior photography student Angela Carr presents a self-portrait of her body. Photo by Angela Carr


“Gas Station.” June 4, 2020. Chris Muth, a junior cinema student, captured a photo of a group of protesters facing Richmond Police Department’s Fourth Precinct building on Chamberlayne Avenue. Photo by Chris Muth


“Fire on Belle Isle.” March 2020. Joe Myers, a junior photography student, spent time outside near the James River and witnessed someone light a fire near the water. Photo by Joe Myers


“Still Searching.” December 10, 2020. Karin Turner, a senior photography student, has spent the COVID-19 pandemic creating her thesis project, which explores escapism through hard times. Photo by Karin Turner


“Encouragement.” July 1, 2020. Liza Hazelwood, a senior film student, quarantined at home with her mother and their “pandemic project”; a new puppy named Dasha. Photo by Liza Hazelwood


“Chris Buzzing Dad’s Hair.” July 2020. Luke Mancari, a senior film student, watched his sister cut their dad’s hair on the back porch, as hair salons and barber shops remained closed. Photo by Luke Mancari


“Floyd and Nansemond.” September 10, 2020. Shane McFadden, a junior photography student, biked to the sites of some of the Black Lives Matter protests this past summer. Photo by Shane McFadden

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