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Share Your Thoughts And Feelings About This Pandemic

Share Your Thoughts And Feelings About This Pandemic

Share Your Thoughts And Feelings About This Pandemic

QUESTION
The COVID-19 Pandemic has been impacting each of us in one way or another. I would like to provide the opportunity for you to share your thoughts and feelings about this pandemic and how it has personally impacted you
Share Your Thoughts And Feelings About This Pandemic

ANSWER
Anyone reading this has most likely been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I truly wish I could offer genuine assistance. Or, at the very least, some grand, cogent thesis that presents all of this in a way that makes some sense and offers some simple lessons. I obviously cannot. But I still have one more term post to write, and I’m going to do my best to share my honest thoughts and feelings about everything. I’m not sure what else I can do.

My situation is relatively favorable. I mean, it still feels like everything is going wrong. But, objectively, things are looking up. I’m from Pasadena, a suburb of Los Angeles, so I chose to stay in the Midwest at the end of the winter term, when LA was shaping up to be a real epicenter of all this. It was a difficult decision for a variety of reasons—I was foregoing the comfort of home, missing out on seeing family and friends for an extended period of time, preparing myself for a last-minute search for a new living situation, all during what I perceive to be the most significant global crisis I’ve ever lived through, no less—but it felt right. And I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had a choice in the first place. I’m staying with one of my best friends in the world (Larry, who has appeared in some of my previous posts), under the roof of an incredible and loving family in Palos Heights, a Chicago suburb. I’m well fed, I have company, and I have internet access. So far, we’ve all been fine. Everything is fine.

But I must admit that I am depressed. I’ve cherished my time at Carleton to the point where I’ve decided I’ll never study abroad during a regular trimester again because I’m too attached to the school to miss a single term. And now I’m doing just that: missing a(t least half a) term there to stay inside, away from all but one of my friends, rather than study abroad. Worse, I didn’t have much time to prepare: I didn’t realize it was time to see all the people I wanted to see, do all the things I wanted to do, or just soak up what had turned out to be my favorite place in the world before saying goodbye for who knows how long until it was too late. I had spring break plans with my roommate that I was ecstatic about, and they vanished in an instant. We were also planning to attend a Dan Deacon concert once spring semester began! I have no idea what summer will be like at this point. It’s extremely frustrating to spend one of my four college springs in quarantine, having day after day of empty time to reflect on how valuable the time we’re all losing is. Not to mention how difficult it is to maintain mental and physical health while cooped up inside, waiting out a deadly virus.

But isn’t that all there is to it? Right now, a deadly virus is sweeping the globe, and I’m just waiting for it to pass. That makes me one of the fortunate. As difficult as things are for me, they are exponentially more difficult for a large number of people. It’s a frustrating and lonely time for me. Others see it as a matter of life and death.

So, to those in my situation, around my age, I’d like to say this: I believe it’s critical to accept our feelings about this stuff. Things are definitely tough right now, and we should forgive ourselves for feeling sorry for ourselves. We’re all disappointed, and that’s fine. That is understandable. Everyone’s chances of losing a loved one unexpectedly are higher right now. Isn’t that terrifying? It’s meant for me. (If there is any way I can assist others in dealing with these concerns, I would appreciate it. My email address is always at the bottom of these posts, but I’ll include it here as well: demetriadesl@carleton.edu. I’m not sure what I’m worth to anyone right now. Please reach out if talking it all out, even with a complete stranger, can help. If there’s anything I can do, I’ll do it.)

That being said, we must recognize our privilege and, more importantly, our responsibility not to make life more difficult for others. Particularly for those who have it the worst. Right now, the increased likelihood of losing someone is even greater in a number of at-risk communities. So, if possible, stay inside. Take care of your health. Don’t make it any more difficult for others to do so. And, ideally, if you’re up for it, look for ways to actively improve things. Make a donation to those in need (shout out to CSA Representative Ozzy Cota for putting this together). Combat misinformation spread. Combat the disease itself. This may appear to be contradictory, but I honestly believe it is the best option right now.

We must be gentle with ourselves, honest with our feelings, and strict with our perspective. It’s pointless to waste energy beating ourselves up about our natural reactions to all of this. Accept these negative emotions while appreciating our privilege, which has only been heightened by this new reality. By remaining aware of this, we can direct our efforts toward putting that privilege to good use. Sadness is unavoidable, but we can choose gratitude and action.

In short, acknowledge your disappointment, but don’t let it consume you. Instead, let your outrage at other people’s tragedies motivate you rather than overwhelm you. It will undoubtedly be a balancing act. And I imagine it will be quite surreal at times. But that is what we must do.

So that’s my big picture view of everything. But I also want to go into greater depth. In this crazy time, how exactly can we honor our obligations to others?

Share Your Thoughts And Feelings About This Pandemic

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