There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now. And I’m not someone who likes uncertainty.
I like to have a plan. I prefer to know what my day, month and year will look like. I make lists of what I have to do, penciling in everything that needs to be done, when it will get done and how it needs to be done. This is who I am and I’ve been this way my whole life.
Needless to say, the coronavirus pandemic threw me for a loop, as it did for most people. I’m at home now, when I thought I would be at Lehigh until May, I’m taking classes online instead of in the classroom, my trip I had planned for this summer needed to be canceled, the uncertainty of the current global situation is influencing many companies’ willingness to take interns for the summer, and I have been told that study abroad plans for spring 2021 may be altered. I was not happy. All of my control and all of my planning was gone, just like that.
While my situation doesn’t just apply to me, as these are common concerns and experiences had by most college students around the country, I think every student struggled with it in their own way.
Whether it was disappointment, anger, sadness, or ambivalence, each student experienced a mix of emotions due to the remote transition of our semester and the uncertain state of the world.
I experienced fear. Everything I thought my life would look like for the next one to two years is up in the air. I like being in control and I was losing it, and fast. I was scared for the safety of those I know who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. I was scared for the safety of my loved ones who are at an increased risk of developing serious complications if they were to contract the virus.
I was scared for anyone in the world who is currently battling or will battle this dangerous and mysterious virus, and for my own safety as well. I was scared because my daily schedule was altered. I was scared because all of my planning and control I had over my life was gone.
One night last week, all of my emotions and panic got the best of me and I cried. I got upset. While I believe my sadness was justified, my emotional reaction made me realize something. I put my situation into perspective.
I live in a nice house in New Jersey. I have my own room and a space to do my work. While my family will experience financial effects due to the ensuing recession, they will not be as extreme as those experienced by others. My family always has food in the house and I have never been, and likely will never be, concerned about where my next meal is coming from. I am very lucky.
While my precise and game-like control over my life is of no help to me currently, my well being and safety is still intact and that’s truly what matters right now. So for those like me who are concerned about possible changes to study and summer plans and are currently in a secure situation, take a second to think about your position and how lucky you may be.
While no current situation is ideal by any means, as long as you are safe and healthy, nothing else matters right now. Be grateful for that and I hope everyone remains safe, healthy and sane during this time.
Lenni Elias is an associate lifestyle editor for The Brown and White. She can be reached at [email protected].