Life at a distance

One month has gone by while being in quarantine and no one knows what day it is. One month of being forced to stay indoors, distance ourselves from society and take courses online. By now, most companies have ceased operation. No one has ever seen anything like this. Citizens are racing to the grocery stores, waiting in unreasonably long lines and buying in bulk. We are seeing society crack under the pressure of having nothing to do.

Of course, the bigger picture here is how our lives will never be the same after these long, but oddly fast, few weeks. We mourn the people who have lost their lives due to the coronavirus, we are thinking of those fighting for their lives and those in recovery. Our hearts go out to the individuals in abusive households with parents or spouses, the homeless, those dealing with mental health that relied on outside distractions. You all are also not forgotten during this difficult time.

Life at a distance has been an unusual experience. As an essential worker during this pandemic, I am witnessing hands-on the different perspectives of America’s “temporary” new way of life. From customers arguing over the last roll of toilet paper or with customers without masks, I’m being treated as if I were a hero at work and a biohazard at home, and then I have to sit on my laptop and pretend that I am a full-time college student. The transition from taking five courses in the classroom to taking those same exact courses with the same regimen from home was uncomfortable, to say the least. We went from having an extra week added to our spring break to having a five-month-long vacation at home. This does not sound too bad on the surface, but for the seniors (both college and high school) who had plans to walk at graduation to the freshmen who were excited about their first spring break, the 21st birthdays (I have accepted the terms), weddings and funerals; they all have been canceled or altered. 

College students have been expressing their dismay with remote learning, zoom classes and meticulous assignments. A common theme, one I can personally relate to, is the lack of motivation to successfully finish this semester. I have been a student all my life and my performance as a student was based heavily on that classroom environment, being able to see and interact with my professors and my peers. I especially miss my alone time in my dorm, the talks with myself and my solo study dates. Although I love being home, going from living alone on campus to abruptly moving back home with four other people turned my semester upside down. It is hard trying to keep up this identity when there is nothing left to make it real. 

I wanted to be as transparent as I could because I, too, am experiencing a new world. I, too, have some level of anxiety when I step outside. I am a student with no desire to type another letter or solve another problem. 

Despite all the chaos and uncertainty of the future of healthcare as we know it, I am here to bring reality and encouragement to our university. What helps to relieve a heavy heart is knowing there is someone, in this case, millions, that can relate and understand what you are going through. I have been praised by complete strangers for my “service” (I am an employee at Aldi) and been shown immense gratitude for something as small as wiping down a shopping cart. But, to those customers, it was a sense of relief that there are people looking out for them. 

Try to think of others during this time. As much as we want outside to be legal again, think about the reason we are inside in the first place. We are inside for the nurses and doctors, to the coronavirus victims, food industry employees, down to the college student who cleans your carts. 

Stay home for those who are outside for all of us where it is relatively unsafe for anybody. I too, yearn for the outside. An outside with no masks, an outside where we socialize and travel, but rest assured, those days are coming soon. But those days are going to turn into months if we keep assuming “inside” means small gatherings, beach days and church services. 

Try your best to look at quarantine as a halt in time where everything is at a standstill. A time where you can catch up on that show you wanted to binge, start that book you have been meaning to read, a time to clean your room or do your taxes. But, for those who are like me, catch up on the sleep you desperately need and tend to your self needs. Do not think you have to come out of this isolation a master of a new craft or have achieved some rigorous task just try to get through this pandemic the best way you can. 

I wish the last editorial of the semester finds our campus well and in good health, and I hope we will be able to indulge in nature’s bliss in the near future. 

This editorial expresses the unanimous opinion of The Rider News Editorial Board. This week’s editorial was written by Opinion Editor Qur’an Hansford. 

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