Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Thoughts of an ‘essential worker’ — Southeast alumna

Monday, April 27, 2020
White holds the mask she wears while working at the Community Counseling Center, for safety.
Submitted photo

“Mentally, I think I’ve been paranoid,” are the words of Southeast alumna Moriah White, who just graduated in December 2019, and started a new job in her career field and is now deemed to be an essential worker in the Southeast community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She shared her thoughts about being required to work at this scary time.

“It’s been rough because of all the ever-changing guidelines,” White said. “We get new guidelines every day that we have to follow as far as safety and sanitation is concerned.”

White graduated with degrees in psychology and criminal justice. She began her job at the Cape Girardeau Community Counseling Center as a family assistance worker in February.

She said getting her first “big girl job” has been a very different but rewarding experience, despite the current conditions.

“I am required to work through the pandemic because I am considered a healthcare worker even though I am not quite in the medical field, but mental health is considered health care in the United States,” White said.

As a family assistant worker, White said she helps kids with behavioral and psychological disorders who have been kicked out of the traditional school system learn skills to help them get back into school. Not even six months into her new job, the global COVID-19 pandemic has brought changes to her experience.

“It’s been really hard because I don’t have my kids that I am usually working with because school is out, and that’s been a bit of a challenge,” White said.

White is a Chicago native, but says working in Cape Girardeau may be the best for her right now because of the large number of cases in Chicago. She said she did not realize how much she liked going out to eat, hanging with friends and being outside until the pandemic. She shares advice for other essential workers.

“For those who are still working like myself I think we are blessed to still be employed because there are a lot of people our age and older who have been laid off,” White said. “I am grateful to be working, but I think if everyone follows the precautions that we have set in place, we can get over this thing.”