An open letter to COVID-19

Illustration by Rachel Burns

Dear COVID-19,

I just want to tell you a little bit about how you flip-turned my life upside down. I got used to chilling and relaxing with my friends outside of school, but then you had to come in and be up to no good, causing trouble in my neighborhood. Everybody panicked and got scared and now I’m stuck in my house until you get out of here.

Because of you, I can’t stray too far from my front porch. Because of you, I’ve had to transition my schooling completely online to help keep everyone healthy. Because of you, I’ve found that fear drives people to extremes like hoarding toilet paper and other necessities. Because of you, it’s really easy for people to be afraid.

My routine has been destroyed and I’m practically unemployed. I’ve got bills to pay and mouths to feed, and nothing in this world is free.

I may be a part of the technology generation, but having all of my classes online is a struggle for me. I thrive off of routine and structure, and now I have very little. All of my on-campus jobs have either closed or downsized and no physical classes mean that all I do right now is travel from room to room in my house trying to keep myself busy and sane.

Meeting online isn’t all bad, I guess, since about half of my classes are being live-streamed on Zoom at the normal class time, but it’s not the same. There’s something missing. I can’t say hi to people in the hallway on the way to class. I can’t catch a 15-minute power nap in the library between class and work because I was up all night before working on a project I waited too long to start doing. I can’t stop by my professors’ offices and check in on class and life when I’m walking by. I can’t sit on the floor in class or cross-legged on the chair to take notes because I’m having trouble focusing that day. I can’t interact with my professors and classmates the same way online that I can in a classroom. I can’t go to the tutoring center and work with my tutoring friends on projects that are frustrating me. I don’t work well in isolation, and now you’ve taken away nearly all interactions that I consider crucial to my academic success.

You have taught me several things, though. You’ve forced me to implement the motto, “Adapt, improvise, overcome” that my family has instilled in me to a level I never thought I’d have to.

I’ve also learned to enjoy the little things in life more. You’ve taught me to remember the value of companionship and not to take for granted the time I get to spend with people I care about. I’m learning to take advantage of the sunny days in all this rain, to go outside and sit on my porch or at a nearby creek and just enjoy the outdoors. I’ve been deep in thought more and more lately because you’ve given me so much time to think.

I’m appreciating going to church more because I miss being in those doors, but you’ve also given a unique opportunity to have church services throughout the week. As more and more churches live-stream or record and post their services, I now have the opportunity to hear and learn about Jesus more throughout the week.

So yeah, online classes aren’t optimal for me, but I’ll adapt; hopefully well enough to continue passing everything. I would so much rather be in a physical classroom but out of all the alternatives, this is probably the one I would prefer the most. Things could be so much worse, but I can’t wait until you leave so I can have some semblance of normalcy again.

Jessica is from Clarksville, AR and is a senior at CBC. Jessica is double majoring in English and History, with a minor in Communication. After she graduates, Jessica wants to go to graduate school for Museum Studies with a focus on collections management and publish a fiction novel. She is a radio DJ for Tower Media and is also the student library clerk on campus. Jessica’s favorite things to do include reading, writing, taking photos, hanging out with friends, and listening to music.

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