I was devastated when I was told that I would have to pack up all of my things, leave the dorm room that I called “home” and abandon all of my friends for the rest of the school year, I was absolutely devastated. I was scared, and did not want to spend the rest of my school year at home and without my friends. This time is extremely exhausting, demanding, and even inconvenient. This time can be made even more difficult for students who are dealing with mental illness, as well as unfortunate home situations. I personally struggle with generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder. I can also personally say that being without my friends has been intensely fatiguing, especially since I love being in the physical company of others. I know many other people do as well, but there is so much technology nowadays. Although it cannot in any way replace the experience of being in the physical presence of others, it is still helpful to utilize programs such as Skype, Zoom, a simple phone call, FaceTime, Google Duo, and Netflix Party during this difficult time.
I know we, as the younger generation, sometimes feel that this time of social distancing is not meant for us. That it is unimportant, that we are stronger than the coronavirus, and some might say that we are “immune.” Although for a majority of the younger population the risk of the coronavirus is not as great as the risk for the elderly population, those that suffer from prior health conditions and those that have a weakened immune system, a prior condition that compromises their immune system, the risk is still prominent. Lately, more and more young people are becoming hospitalized from the Coronavirus, and even ending up with permanent lung damage from it. Also, even if we do not catch the virus ourselves, we are still able to be carriers for the virus and have the possibility of catching either a mild or severe form of the virus. Being a carrier is especially dangerous because that means the person is asymptomatic and does not know that they have the virus. The virus could then unknowingly be passed onto others, and possibly to someone who could experience a very severe case with a less chance of recovery.
I personally am staying home and practicing social distancing for my grandma. She is in the at-risk category because she is older and has pre-existing health conditions. I’ve always had a very close relationship with her and I love her with all my heart. Since I have been raised by a single-mother, my grandma has helped to raise my brother and I for our entire lives and has continued to do so. She has done so much out of the goodness of her heart to make sure that we would have a good life. This small, tiny, little favor of staying inside my home and practicing social distancing is something that I owe to my grandma. I’m doing this selfless act for her because not only is it a simple and easy task, but it is also something to show her how much I care about her. For all that my grandma has done for me, staying inside and limiting my exposure for her is a small price to pay.
As college students, I recognize that sometimes we have this concept that the world is revolving around us. We have a full course load and are just trying to live our lives. I, too, am guilty of being selfish. But, I just ask that during this time you attempt to take a step out of the box and practice being selfless in order to protect those around you. I’m sure most of us have someone or multiple people that we love that we do not want infected with this virus. Practicing social distancing and staying at home is the greatest example during this time to show your selflessness while also protecting those you love the most. I understand this is a very heavy topic, but the amount of people that are not remaining in their homes and not practicing social distancing is what is causing the continual increase in cases of the Coronavirus. As I finish writing this, I just ask you to reflect on this: is going out (for any reasons besides for food, medication, or other life-sustaining reasons) really worth the risk of potentially infecting those you care about?