By Sophia Yakumithis
I’m fine. No, I’m not. But I am. But I’m not.
I was expecting for us to go remote for the rest of the year since this all started going worse. In fact, I think I was more surprised about President Brown’s original decision to delay the verdict until the beginning of April, leaving us non-New Englanders in the dark on when we should return to campus.
But, despite any expectations as to how the university should handle the coronavirus crisis I managed to keep at bay, my system was shocked after receiving the email about becoming “Zoom University” on Wednesday night.
Although I wasn’t expecting to return to campus, everything started feeling very different. It was a fast and surreal change of pace that no amount of memes or nicotine could help me process.
My first ache was for the fact that I might not see friends who are graduating this semester ever again. My next ache was for the belongings I left in my on-campus apartment, and the uncertainty as to how I would be getting them if everyone is fleeing campus.
I felt trapped, but I stopped myself right there.
All the factors contributing to my anxiety related to an international public health crisis that has taken the lives of thousands worldwide are superficial things that affect no one but myself.
Once that clicked, I felt embarrassed. I felt like I was starting to echo the incessant, theatrical pessimism I’ve seen online recently related to how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting my generation.
As childish as this sounds, I’ve been physically seething at posts I’ve seen on Twitter and Instagram. There have been posts from people moaning that their college is subjecting them to oppression by evacuating campus. Or that they’re stuck in their six bedroom suburban home, BMW parked outside with nothing to do but order same-day delivery items off of Amazon.
I’m lucky that I come from a privileged community, but this crisis has illuminated a lot of the ignorance that comes with that privilege. And frankly, I’m disappointed in a lot of my friends.
At the end of the day, this is an international public health crisis. If you have shelter, you’re already ahead of the game. That means you can safely stay inside, and hopefully, you’re stocked up on food and are able to afford to pay your water bill.
Anything else is secondary. The fact that I have a family to keep me company with and sources of entertainment, like a fully stocked bookshelf and access to internet and TV, are serious privileges in the scheme of things, even if I’ve been feeling sad and claustrophobic from online classes.
I stopped reading those mindless rants on Instagram and Facebook because the people I know who are actually affected by the coronavirus — people who legitimately do not have shelter, the immune system or access to any resources they need — don’t have the time to go on and scream into the ether.
The people whose lives are on the line right now are not worried about how they’re getting their favorite Adidas pants back from their dorm, or how they’re missing their last tailgate “darty.” These people have lost jobs, are scrambling to come up with enough money to survive.
We need to work together to cooperate and to be patient with one another. Everyone is trying to adjust to unforeseen circumstances that will be an inevitable challenge to recover from.
Instead of griping on Twitter about your first world problems when you get bored, go take a walk. Or a Xanax. But most importantly, keep perspective.