In the middle of March, everything changed for Cabrini students when our semester was cut short due to the quickly spreading COVID-19 virus. Conflicting feelings of relief and devastation spread all throughout campus the day that it was announced that classes would be canceled and moved online for the remainder of the semester.
Although many students and professors were relieved to have face-to-face classes canceled, Cabrini athletes were saddened to have their seasons cut short, study abroad students were forced to return home and seniors were left with many questions about graduation. Thankfully it has been announced that the in-person commencement ceremony has been moved to August 8 and that a virtual conferral of degrees will be held in May, according to the Cabrini website.
The adjustment to online classes has been a difficult one for both myself and my professors. In the first couple of weeks, many students and professors struggled with technical difficulties and communicating how classes will be held. Many hands-on classes were difficult to move to an online setting and took longer to transition.
For students whose only access to the internet was on campus, moving to online classes was terrible news. More than 21 million Americans do not have access to high speed internet, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Fortunately, almost every one of my professors has acknowledged this problem and has offered to work with students who may not have access to the internet at home.
During the beginning of the quarantine, it seemed like the world was in a panic and that the worst was being brought out of people. This could be seen all over the news and social media, where videos of people attacking each other over simple toiletries and groceries were surfacing one after another. In one story, a woman and her daughter got into a physical altercation with another woman over toilet paper according to The New York Post.
Witnessing these videos, the greed from companies that kept people working long after it was no longer safe, the lack of action from our country’s leadership and others ignoring the recommendation to stay inside while people are dying, only added to the feeling of the worst being brought out of everyone.
But being quarantined proved that the best could also be brought out of people. Companies began to make accomodations for the elderly, who could no longer navigate the tense and hectic environment of the grocery store, local schools and restaurants were distributing food, and laptops to students whose families otherwise would not be able to afford them and my neighborhood app became full of posts offering help to others who may need it.
Since being quarantined, I’ve gotten to spend the most time that I ever had with my mother, who for my entire life had to spend more time at work than she could with me. I finally had a little bit of time to clean the house, to do the things that I loved like painting again, taking walks and getting to enjoy nature.
For the first time since moving to my neighborhood, there were children playing outside and the neighborhood was full of people walking their pets and enjoying the outdoors. The sky looked the clearest that it ever has and for a moment it felt like a time before social media and the internet ruled our lives. Throughout everything that has happened, so much has been taken from us, but so much has also been given.