Student Experience

Looking Into the Past, Present, and Future: Pandemic Version

Every period of time is defined by an event or a recurring theme throughout that period. Therefore, the start of the new decade of 2020 can definitely be defined by the Covid-19 pandemic. For my generation, at least, this event will be a turning point as it is happening during the time of our lives when we decide on our future. Moreover, I have divided the influence of the pandemic in my life into three parts: before, during, and after. Each “stage” has its own theme statement that I feel best represents the time.

Humans cannot beat time. What is done is done and the past cannot be undone… is humanity running out of time?

Before the pandemic… 

  • Life was ordinary, so to say. People went to work, or to school. Each day, I woke up to go to school, did my sports, and came back home, where I would spend my time studying, reading, or hanging out before going to bed. That was my daily routine. Once in a while, I would hang out with friends: go to the movies, spend hours talking in a restaurant, and walk around the mall. This used to be my life.
  • Quite often I would hear on the news about the problems of the world: corrupt politicians, shady business, international problems that could possibly lead to a war, and our dying environment. These issues were always present in every newspaper and they were what most talked about. I was frequently informed about such topics; especially those that interested me. At school, I would sometimes discuss these subjects with friends.
  • Travelling was so simple and common. Thousands of airplanes flew around the world each day, carrying passengers to their destinations. Personally, I really looked forward to traveling to any country; it was one of my favorite activities, even though it was something I did maybe once or twice every two years.
  • Streets and cities were bustling with people. Especially on weekends, the city was more alive than ever. Every time I went to the mall to hang out with friends, I would see an influx of people there, walking around and having a good time. 
  • There were no worries about a possible pandemic. No one really expected one. There were more concerns for one of the thousands of problems humanity had. A pandemic wasn’t one of them, given that we had previously had previous recent epidemics (such as the Zika or the Ebola), but they hadn’t been as severe to have caused a global quarantine.

Take your time to reflect on yourself and others because all you have is time at home; look for the silver lining.

During the pandemic… 

  • We have adapted to a new daily routine. We wake up, work, eat, and sleep: all is done at home. Since the novel coronavirus emerged, almost everyone has stayed at home. Even basic necessities (such as access to food, hygiene products) can be done from home through e-commerce and delivery services. One small positivity is that people are more aware of basic hygiene. Now, many are consciously and frequently washing their hands.
  • Media mostly covers news about the Covid-19 pandemic. Most other news not related to the novel virus is not given much importance. I understand this since Covid-19 is impacting people’s lives more than any other problem or conflict ever has. All topics of conversation I have had with my friends and family, somehow, go back to the pandemic. 
  • All my dreams of traveling are canceled, and could forever be. Airports are empty and airlines are suffering. I was greatly surprised when I heard that Avianca, a very big airline, could possibly file for bankruptcy. I often think about the future where traveling restrictions are stricter than ever, and that this will never be the same again.
  • Streets are empty and most businesses have closed. While some industries, such as the gaming and e-commerce industry, have grown, others, such as shopping mall industries, have shrunk and perhaps disappeared. I seldom wonder how the leaders of such businesses must feel like: they have two choices: closing down before losing more or holding out until the pandemic ends, but when will it end? It must be a painful decision. On the other hand, it has been almost three months since I last saw my friends in person. The only way I have spoken to them has been through video calls. I very much miss them and want to see them as soon as the pandemic ends.
  • A lot of free time was given to me, and everyone when the pandemic started. Most people lost their jobs as they entered quarantine, and school hours were reduced, which left me with a lot of hours of doing nothing. I quickly grew tired of spending my time surfing online, and then I started to reflect. I realized some things about myself: I had spent almost no time reading because I was too caught up with my work, I had sometimes prioritized friends over family. Now that I’ve seen what the difficulties are, I try to improve by setting small goals and taking small steps.

Always take precautions; it is better to be safe than sorry because one never knows what the future holds.

After the pandemic… 

  • It won’t be like the movies, where one day you just wake up and everything has come back to normal. As with most things, this will take time. Businesses will slowly reopen, people will be coming out of their homes, but still alert and cautious about going back to how our previous lives were. Hopefully, people’s habits regarding hygiene still remain even after the threat of another wave of the Covid-19 is completely eradicated.
  • Most news will be about recoveries from the pandemic: sports players going back to the field, people getting back their jobs (hopefully!), schools reopening, and much more. By then, assuredly, the news will be covered with positive headlines.
  • I am unsure about traveling after the pandemic. Restrictions for travel might remain strict for a long time, because one can never know if cases will arise again. For instance, South Korea saw a sudden surge in new cases after an infected man visited several clubs. The apparition of new cases had almost ceased, yet a new wave arrived.
  • Businesses will reopen as everything returns to normalcy. Slowly but surely, people will start coming out of their homes. 
  • No one expected a pandemic, but one just happened. Its impact on the world was unquestionably huge, and no one knows if it will happen again. I hope people will take the lessons that have to be taken and next time, if it happens again, humanity will be ready to do its best.

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