These last couple of weeks, life feels like it is being written by a 4th grader: “And there was this virus, and everyone got scared. And then the world ran out of toilet paper, and then there was no school for like a month, and then it snowed!” COVID-19 has turned our world upside down, and all that we thought we had control over is no longer a reality.
I am not going to lie, this has been challenging for me to accept and assimilate, especially so suddenly. I remember being in a state of shock and disbelief for a couple of days… until I went grocery shopping and couldn’t find half of what I needed, drove around deserted streets, and the only people I saw outside were wearing masks and gloves.
It is now my second week of classes and work since spring break, and it has been really good so far. If it weren’t for the amazing faculty and staff at Truckee Meadows Community College that accommodated our courses so quickly and are staying positive and eager to teach, as students we wouldn’t be able to pull through.
I have realized that as human beings we have an amazing ability to adapt. If you think about it, we have been adapting ever since we first appeared on this earth. Change is inevitable, and it comes in all shapes and sizes. It comes in the form of a plague, a world war, a revolution, an invention, a new era, a natural disaster, a revival of some sort… anything that makes us change our way of living. To be honest, I am very intrigued by how this virus makes us appreciate everything much more. Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, seeing our loved ones whenever we want to, going to work, sitting in class… these things will never be the same for me. And if I tend to start taking them for granted, I will try to remember these 30 days vividly. Change is inevitable, and it makes us grow. As a society, we have learned to be more conscious of our impact on others, and our impact on nature as well. In the quietness of our homes we are letting nature catch a breath from our routines, and that is something to be grateful for.
As a fellow student, I want to encourage you to keep moving forward. Taking online classes is a difficult challenge; personally, I have never liked online courses. However, I have decided to look at it from a positive perspective, and I am happy that my professors worked hard to accommodate lectures and create videos for us. My classmates and I are helping each other even more through video calls and text messages and by encouraging each other to keep going. Let’s fight this virus back with hard work, a positive mindset, and assertiveness in trying to keep everyone safe.
If you’re anything like me and felt trapped inside the house from day one of the quarantine, I want to let you know that it is normal and we all cope with this differently. I love being outdoors, being busy and running around campus all day. In order to keep my “routine” during this time, I have set times during my calendar to go out for short walks, take breaks in between to catch some fresh air, and work out as much as I can. It’s best if you have a designated place at home where to do your work and another where you rest. Trust me, working from your bed is not productive. Also, try to keep away from social media and news during your productive time so you are not distracted. Lastly, stay connected to your friends and family as much as you can.
Remember that this circumstance is temporary. We don’t know how long it is going to take, but we do know that once this is over we will not be the same. I want to believe we will have changed for the better. We will be more aware, more responsible, more engaged, and more appreciative. If you are reading this and are feeling anxious, stressed or hopeless, I want you to know that you are not alone and that we will get through this. If you are far away from home and your family, I applaud you for staying strong. If you have loved ones close to you, go and cherish these moments. If you are able to continue your studies and work, take a moment to appreciate that.
I hope you stay safe and positive wherever you are! We’ve got this!
Valeria Saborio is from Costa Rica and is pursuing her Industrial and Systems Engineering degree at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada.