Savannah Eustace, 23, is a college student and part-time office assistant at Medgar Evers College in Crown Heights.
She’s a Brooklyn native who grew up in Flatbush and still live in the area. Savannah loves the changes that are taking place in her neighborhood – the new businesses and assortment of restaurants that have cropped up in the community. Her home is across the street from Prospect Park, which offers a variety of activities and attracts joggers and cyclists.
“It’s beautiful and just getting more and more beautiful,” she said about her neighborhood.
Savannah adores children. For several years, she was a nanny for families across the borough. She’s engaged to be married but doesn’t plan on starting a family until after completing her education.
In fact, education was at the center of Savannah’s pre-COVID world. She was taking six classes, and nearly all her focus was on earning good grades. When Savannah was not in a classroom, the psychology major was studying in the library.
The sophomore was in the middle of the spring semester when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a shelter-in-place order. Almost immediately, Savannah found herself struggling to navigate the pandemic interrupted semester.
The inconsistent broadband Internet connection at home often would log out suddenly as she attempted to participate in her virtual college classrooms. In other instances, the internet sometimes shut down her connection while she was taking exams.
Making matters worse, her professors and college advisers were often unavailable to answer questions.
Prior to COVID-19, Savannah was laser-focused on education and didn’t see much of her family and friends. But after one of her friends contracted the virus and a neighbor’s mother died, along with the mothers of several other people in her circle, the virus opened Savannah’s eyes to what was most important: family.
“I can’t keep just putting my head in the books because family is important,” recalled Savannah, who has 11 siblings. “You never knew what could happen during the pandemic because everything was happening so fast.”
Overall, the pandemic was a horrible experience for Savannah. However, the experience also brought out a resilience inside of her she didn’t know she possessed.
“The pandemic made me a more confident person,” she said. “Before, I was afraid to put myself in certain situations.”