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The following stories are presented in groups. For example, our first collection of stories, from the first-year writing program at California State University, Los Angeles, presents stories written in response to prompts provided by five faculty members in the program.

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The First-Year Writing Program at California State University, Los Angeles serves one of the most diverse student populations in the country. 85% of our Cal State LA students identify as persons of color, and many are bi- or multi-lingual. Another 77% identify as first-generation college, and a majority come from working-class and low-income backgrounds.1 The stay-at-home orders issued in response to the Coronavirus pandemic have impacted our students in complicated ways. As faculty, we have witnessed the challenges our students must negotiate as a result of closures to their university campus and their places of employment. While they worry for the health and safety of loved ones and the world at large, they also struggle with issues like increased work and family responsibilities, lack of access to technology and study spaces, food and housing insecurities, and general anxiety and confusion about the future. We work with a unique population of learners, and we wanted to provide a forum for the students in our classes to express their experiences with the pandemic alongside their culturally diverse identities and interactions with the urban metropolis they call home.

California State University, Los Angeles - Danelle Dyckhoff Stelzriede's Class

COVID in the Home “Stretch”  

The transition to remote teaching was a difficult one for many of my students in ENGL 1005B: College Composition II. Having already completed a semester and a half of “stretch” composition, all my students were on track to pass the class and fulfill their Written Communication GE requirement, which would bring them each a step closer to earning their colleg . . .


The Invisible Threat, by Anonymous
Coronavirus Story, by Juan Cardenas
Life During Pandemic, by Daphne Cebreros
My Coronavirus Story, by Jason Diaz-Garcia
The Coronavirus Pandemic, by Kimberly Gonzalez
Mother Nature, by Jefri Lindo
Going Through a Pandemic as an Essential Worker, by Jesse Ponce
Untitled, by Matthew Rostomian
Society Transforming to Virtual Reality: The Coronavirus Pandemic, by Moises Salas

California State University, Los Angeles - Emily Baird's Class

Voicing a Crisis: Rhetoric and Reflection  

Sometimes the hardest part is knowing that so many stories don’t get told. So many of my students did not finish the semester and never had the opportunity to submit for this project. Some of my students lost jobs or housing. Some students who’d been at every class with every assignment completed could not access the internet or contact me. Some were frustrated by quarantine, frightened for (or of) their families or . . .


Voicing a Crisis: Rhetoric and Reflection, by Anonymous
More Than Just a Virus, by Alyssa Barajas
COVID-19 & Volunteer, by Briana Frias
Examining the Social Impact of COVID 19–Coronavirus, by Matthew Hernandez
Social Media, by Sara Matul
The Impact of Covid-19 to the American Economy, by Omar Ramirez

California State University, Los Angeles - Jennifer Hicks' Class

Student Stories LA  

I was teaching English 2600 this spring, Literary Los Angeles, and when I created a blog for students to post, most of my submissions came from this class. I have selected the contributions here because I these students agreed to participate. In the class we had been discussing Los Angeles as a paradox, Los Angeles light or dark, and what I found from the student poems was an incredible sense of love for the city, and yes, even of hop . . .


The Reason Why I Am 1SadGrad , by Anonymous
Trust the Journey, by Anonymous
Springtime on Spring Street & What's Going On? (two poems), by Ashley Baguio
The City of Lynwood: In Remembrance During Quarantine, by Armando Cepeda
Don’t Know What to Do, by Aaron Cruz

California State University, Los Angeles - Katrine Chakmakchian's Class

The following is a collection of short narratives, journals, and creative/poetry pieces that were written by my English 1010: Accelerated College Writing students. These students proved to be a highly motivated and dedicated group–eager to jump into our class topics and often delighted me with their curiosity and creativity as thinkers and writers. My fear was that the abrupt end of our face-to-face classes would halt the intellectual and emotional spirit we had fostered prior to the Coronavi . . .


My Life During Quarantine 2020–A Collection of Journals, by Anonymous
The Virus That Paralyzed Time–A Poem, by Samantha Ayala
Untitled, by Maria Barrios
The Result of COVID-19, by Michael Bautista
My Subtle Thoughts, by Diana Farhat
Life During the Coronavirus Pandemic, by Brian Flores
My Coronavirus Pandemic Experience, by Aylin Garcia
Change of Routine, by Xitlalli Gomez
Coronavirus Setback, by Cesar Ibarra
A Pandemic Story from a Home Stuck Student, by Fatima Luna
My Coronavirus Story, by Ece Naz Ertunc
What Has My Life Become During this Pandemic?, by Axel Orozco

California State University, Los Angeles - Noelle Kahwaji's Class

Each Student is a Story: Captured Voices in a Topsy-Turvy Time

From the beginning of the beginning, humans lived and then told narratives about tragedy and triumph. Themes of birthing and themes of dying–the foundation of humanity. Themes of relationship and religion. Themes of love and lust, faithfulness and infidelity, fulfilled hearts and broken hearts. Themes of what was lost and themes of what was found. Good vs. evil. Right vs wrong… And chronicles of plag . . .


Untitled , by Anonymous
The Strike of the New Norm , by Briana Sontay-Perez
Expressing Myself During This Pandemic, by Martin Acosta
Freedom Within a Quarantined Life, by Daniela Alvarez-Orozco
Stuck Inside, by Jonathan Argueta-Cruz
New Normal, by Mario Avila
My Thoughts During Quarantine, by Julia Blanchard
Through Writing, by Jeffrey Chan
A Positive Outlook, by Luigi Ciccia
Writing our Memories, by Diana Citalan
What Can Writing Do For You?, by Kate Delgado
The Beauty of Our Mind , by Noel Garcia
Life of a Journal, by Valerie Garcia
The COVID Chronicles , by Jacob Hertz
Quarantine Life , by Jesus Jack Nichol II
Covid Chronicle , by Omar Joma
Inside of Pandemic, by Claudia Lara
My Life Thoughts During a Pandemic , by Alfredo Lopez
Social Distance: So Close, Yet So Far , by Yobani Marin
My Current Thought, by Jossely Narvaez
Untitled, by Chaeyoon Oh
Life Between Four Walls, by Jesus Perez
Life in a Pandemic, by Yesenia Quezada
A Battle Far from Unique, by Caleb Rodriguez
My New Life, by Erick Salazar
Writing during the Epidemic , by Aisha Secundino
My Writing Journal , by Krystal Segura
COVID-19 Chronicles , by Cristina Zirate