We need to give others and ourselves grace during this time

April 7, 2020

When the coronavirus outbreak reached the very unprepared U.S., everyone started panicking, including myself. Once the number of those infected began to rise, and even worse, the number of those dead, I found myself waking up each morning, reading the news and feeling as if I was reading a young adult dystopian novel. At the end of each day, like in “The Hunger Games,” there was a report about how many were dead—the death toll.

     As much as I’ve tried to stay hopeful and optimistic about the situation, my entire life was uprooted during one of the busiest semesters of my life. I had to move back home and now live with my parents and my two sisters. I had to adjust to online school, but I also had to transfer an entire university journalism staff of around 30 members from a primarily print media outlet to an entirely online and social media-based operation.

     I understand the struggle of trying to adapt, and that is why I think that everyone needs to not feel guilty for trying to cope by whatever means necessary. If this means you binge the “Tiger King” Netflix series in one sitting or exercise three hours a day watching YouTube workout videos, then that’s OK.

     Although this transition pushed me out of my comfort zone, forced me to adapt and grow with change and gave me time to do things I normally wouldn’t have had time for, it has been extremely difficult. I had a difficult time coping with some of the changes in my life, and being so constantly reminded of my past since being back home, I feel like I have completely lost my independence and freedom that I had prior to this pandemic.

     While my experience is far better than that of many other Americans, like those who have lost their jobs and have no means of income, I understand that this situation has drastically impacted everyone’s lives, whether we want to admit it or not.

     Parents need to be lenient toward their college-aged students who are moving back home or struggling during this time. Universities need to be understanding of how difficult this transition is on college students and its impact on their day-to-day lives.

     Employers need to be empathetic for those still working; adapting to working from home is extremely difficult and vice versa. The U.S. government needs to be understanding of the fact that the most important thing right now is health, not money, and they need to support our brave health care workers, patients and victims of this disease and their families.

     Our communities need to be resourceful for those struggling with mental health and adapting. All this goes for the rest of the world, too. We must take this virus, social distancing and hygienic procedures seriously, or we are putting others’ lives at risk.

     During this time, do not have expectations for yourself or anyone else pertaining to how we cope and get through this hard time. If you need to spend the whole quarantine binging Netflix or Hulu docu-series, fine. If you need to smoke some weed or color in an adult coloring book all day, that’s also fine. Get by how you can and be there for people—from a distance of course.