2020 was supposed to be different — It was supposed to be special. The prospect of a new decade seemed to offer a fresh start and to take everything done in the last 10 years and top it.
Three months into the new year, things are, in fact, different — just in all the wrong ways.
Waking up on March 9, the official first day of spring break, rest and relaxation were our only concerns. We went to sunny places, to ski or to places that we had not seen before.
On March 11, we received an email that we’d be shifting to online classes for two weeks. Fifteen hours later, we learned that those two weeks had suddenly turned into the rest of the semester. The emergence and subsequent spread of coronavirus around the globe has affected everything from sporting events to international travel to academics.
Academics. A word that now leaves us with many more questions than we have answers to. A word that now stretches beyond the classroom as international students, study abroad programs and university staff all scramble to take the proper precautions amidst closing borders.
Our generation has lived through the aftermath of September 11, 2001 and the recession of 2008. Parents, faculty and staff will surely remember the hardships that came with both of those historic moments. Life was completely disrupted, just for different reasons than it is now. Current students may have been too young to fully appreciate the gravity of those situations, and with this pandemic, we are absolutely getting a taste of what life on pause looks like.
Now, we have to worry about things like housing, food, money and other arbitrary necessities. Those unable to return home have to fend for themselves — some way, somehow. Students have work studies and other forms of income that may be temporarily on hold. In many circumstances, money is an urgent necessity. And this goes for millions of other Americans, and people around the world.
In this period of uncertainty, we will all have to learn and overcome unseen obstacles together. The Lehigh community will have to prove that it can succeed as a community even outside campus boundaries.
And as classes continue, The Brown and White continue to report “All the Lehigh news first.”
We, at The Brown and White, understand that this sudden change has left many shocked and struggling, and we are trying to make sense of this situation as well. We had events to attend, games to cover, people to interview and stories to tell.
While many of these events have been canceled, our goal to share your stories remains the same.
Reporting does not cease during a crisis. Journalism is not restricted to one location. Lehigh students and staff may now be scattered across the globe, but our coverage of the community will remain the same.
To tell stories, we must be open to listening to the voices of others as well. If you are willing to share your experiences during this time, we would love to hear them. It is important that we support each other during this time, even with social distancing being the new norm.