Over the past month, many employees have faced layoffs as companies try to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many of these layoffs are part-time workers and those considered non-essential — many college students fall under this category.

Hailey Mallet, a server at Alamo Drafthouse and wildlife biology student at MSU, said she’s had money saved back for a while, and that’s what she’d been relying on until her unemployment check came in.

“I have enough money saved up in my bank to pay for about five months of bills,” Mallett said. “I have always been pretty financially disciplined since I started working when I was 16. I just always liked the peace of mind that if anything happened, I wouldn’t be totally screwed.”

Some students ended up traveling home to their parents to save money.

Ariel Ross, junior middle school math education major, worked briefly as a substitute teacher through Penmac Education Staffing before COVID-19.

She was living with a relative while attending school, but she didn’t want to be a financial burden, so she moved back to Texas with her parents. 

Ross’ mother is a teacher, but her father has major health issues and is high-risk. To keep him safe, she decided to limit all contact by drawing unemployment to save for next semester’s tuition.

Ross and her friend are starting their own organization called “So Hold On” to raise awareness for mental health problems. She said anyone can message them on Facebook or Instagram, even just to chat.

“The only way we can get through this and maintain our mental health is by virtually sticking together,” Ross said.