As I’m sure almost everyone reading this has seen on the news, a lot of colleges and even high schools are closing down. Some are only for a few weeks but many are for the remainder of the semester, including mine. Don’t get me wrong, I understand it’s the best decision for the health of the students and the public and I am insanely great full that they worked out a way to continue online, but to all my fellow seniors, no matter what level of education, my heart goes out to you.
Last week started with rumors of in-person classes being canceled, which sparked tons of speculation regarding what would happen for exams or lab based classes. Some said we’d be graded on our existing work, others brought up that we may get an incomplete and need to come back over the summer. Either option would have set back my graduation and my post grad education. For two days we heard absolutely nothing from the school and our professors just told us nothing was official yet. On Wednesday, a tweet from out governor informed us that all sate schools would be moving online starting the 19th and it was nearly an entire day before we got an email from the school. On top of that there was still no clear details about what would be happening with my lab course. The official school email informed us that research labs would stay open, but those are very different than undergrad labs and my professor was radio silent until our lab the following afternoon.
I don’t say all of this to bash on the people involved in these decisions. I know they were not made rashly and needed to be done in a timely manner in response to the outbreak in my state, but I want to draw attention to the lack of communication and how that more than anything is what is causing panic surrounding COVID-19. Don’t get all your information from social media. Take the time to watch federal and state government briefings on the issue and do research from trusted medical professionals. When in doubt, only trust a .gov or a scientific paper, not .com articles for your information.
Tomorrow I will be returning to my dorm one last time to move out the last of my belongings so my room can be prepped to become a temporary hospital. I will never attend another class on campus, or get to watch the cherry blossoms bloom in the coming weeks. I will not be able to pop into my roommates room every time I need clarification about an episode of Game of Thrones or wake up early on a Sunday to get a bacon egg and cheese and walk on the piers when no one else is around. But probably the worst of them all is the high probability that graduation will be canceled and I won’t get to walk in the commencement ceremony.
I know these are little sacrifices in order to save lives, but these little things are the things that make up a life, and after working so hard for 4 years I want to celebrate the end with all my classmates at commencement. So, as someone who still has a hope of at least a graduation ceremony to end of their uncongenial senior year I ask you all to stay at home for the next two weeks so we can stop the spread of this virus. Order things you need online and get them delivered, no human interaction needed. Do not leave your house just because you think you’re young and have nothing to worry about. You can carry it, and pass it on, without ever showing a symptom yourself.
To all the first responders, health care workers, grocery store employees and delivery people we thank you for holding things together in this crazy time.
Stay safe and stay healthy. And stop buying so much dang toilet paper.