By Megan Lilly
These past few weeks have been insane. There are times when I wake up and wonder if everything that has happened is real. It seems as though I’m living in a dream world in which I no longer attend school in person and have no job. The changes I’ve had to make, both personally and as a member of society, have been stressful and hard to adjust to. There is no denying the fact that things are changing and doing so in a rapid fashion as new information arises each day related to the virus.
Personally, transitioning this week into an online format for my college classes has been unpleasant. I’m one who works better in a face-to-face setting when having to learn something new. Not having the ability to visit my professors during their office hours to discuss topics or themes I do not understand or to get help with an assignment is going to be another adjustment I will have to make as I finish out this semester. As an English major, it’s easy for some of my classes to transition from in-person to remote, as much of our discussions are moderated through an online format, but not being able to physically listen to the opinions of my classmates and develop new interpretations of what we read upsets me. One of the most valuable aspects I obtained from discussion-based classes is listening to what others think about the readings while structuring and mutating my own interpretations. I have the ability to think critically about literature, but having others to confirm or challenge my ideas is something I will greatly miss.
I feel as if I’m living the same day over and over. I am stressed because of the new schedules and assignments for my classes, and because I feel as if I’m a lazy college student who’s not motivated enough to make money, which I desperately feel I need. I usually have a job working as a swim coach, but in light of everything going on, I don’t know when the summer season’s practices will begin again. My school schedule is irregular with everything moving online and most of the work being long-term and therefore “complete at your own pace as long as it gets done by the deadline,” which is not a format I work well under. My days are filled with school work for a few hours, and then I read most of the day, which for some reason makes me feel lazy, as if I’m an unproductive member of society. I already have anxiety about various things in my life, and this entire situation has only seemed to augment that.
Despite all of these unknowns and negative effects of what is happening in society and the changes we are having to make. I am desperately trying to remain positive and find things that make this time special and one to remember. I am an introvert who loves my family in ways that I cannot even describe and who loves being at home. When I am away at college in Iowa City, I miss my parents greatly and always look forward to visiting home on the weekends when I can. So, taking this chance to slow down a bit, spending time with my parents and siblings, and taking the opportunity to talk about aspects of our lives that we miss while apart, is invaluable to me. I have been home now for three weeks, and though some groan when they think about having to spend the next four months at home, I cherish the time I will be able to spend with those I love the most and think, instead, of the many meaningful experiences we will be able to have because of our situation.
I also think of those who have it worse off than I do and who might not have a loving home to go to where they know they will be taken care of. There are students who do not have the resources to work remotely or complete their classes online due to lack of equipment or an unstable life that does not allow them to reach their full potential through the online format. The teachers who have furiously worked to completely change their class schedules to accommodate this change of format and are still maintaining an upbeat attitude because they know that students are anxious about what might happen in the future. It is often difficult to think about others when my own situation is not ideal, but there is always someone who feels the same as me and those who are not as well off as I am. I am extremely lucky to have parents who have the ability to support my education while I am finishing up online, and am thankful that nobody I personally know has gotten sick from this virus. I admit, there are times when I am resentful of the continued policies of keeping all stores, restaurants, and other centers of leisure activity closed, but when I think of what could happen if such measures were to end before it’s deemed safe, I am marginally better able to understand why it is that such mandates are put in place.
There is still much time to go before the effects of this virus will cease to be seen, but I’m trying to remain upbeat and healthy amidst so much uncertainty is an aspect I am striving to work on both for myself and those around me.
Edited by Emily Chance