Covid-19: One student’s take on what is happening

This is my senior year, and I was looking forward getting to participate in the usual high school activities one last time before heading off to start college. I could have never predicted what would have come over this country. Though I have often thought that some day, there will be a disease that will sweep across the country, I did not expect for this hysteria to sweep over the country. And that’s what most of this is: hysteria and panic, the two things most people agree should NOT happen during a crisis. This virus and accompanying panic have changed my life so drastically that it’s barely recognizable from the fall semester. But I’m not afraid of the virus. No, not really. I’d hate to get sick, but that’s not where my fear lies. I’m afraid of everyone’s responses, and so far, I have been right to be afraid.

How has my life been affected? Where to start? Let’s begin with school. As I write this, school has been cancelled for the rest of March. An entire 6 weeks. I am in journalism and enjoy competing in UIL. I was hoping that my senior year, I would be able to advance on to regionals, hopefully to state. Will UIL even be held this year, with everything being cancelled? On top of that, I’m part of the IB program. I’ve been studying for the past year and a half for all of these tests. Online classes are no substitute for being at school, in person. Now, because of school being cancelled, I may not be ready for these tests, assuming the tests themselves are not cancelled. If they are cancelled, then I have spent two years of my school education in vain. I gave up extracurricular activities, off periods, time, and sleep for this program. I was counting on college credit that I would earn from taking these tests, which would likely save my family several thousand dollars. Will I even be able to start college? I don’t know. At Texas A&M, they are having to switch to all online classes. Some friends who graduated last year have come back home because they have been asked to not return, and I assume their classes will be online, too. I do not want my freshman year of college to be online!

This is just from the education standpoint. Church has changed for me as well. Our church’s services have changed drastically, and many classes are cancelled. Our youth group will not be meeting at all. I believe community and fellowship are critical in faith, and the virus is making it difficult to maintain that close connection. Furthermore, I participate in a convention in Dallas called Leadership Training for Christ. I am waiting any day now to hear that it is cancelled. LTC has been a huge part of my life since I started in 3rd grade. I have spent countless hours acting in dramas, writing and performing puppet scripts, practicing in choruses, learning sign language, and studying a particular book of the Bible. And now, my last year, if this trend continues, I will no longer be able to compete in them my final year. Nine years, and I will probably not get to for my last time. To say this is disappointing is a gross understatement.

While some of my extracurricular activities are being held, I think it’s only a matter of time before most, if not all of them are cancelled. I was hoping to get my second degree black belt this year before I graduate. I’m a participant in Kickstart Kids, and for my second degree test, I would have to test in front of Mr. Norris himself. That’s probably not going to happen. I am also a figure skater, and I was hoping to test one last time before graduating and going somewhere where there is no ice rink. Again, looks like that won’t happen. I have been working for the past ten to eleven years to earn the Paderewski award in piano, and while nothing has been cancelled there, I’m afraid it might be.

And then there’s the local economy. Because all classes for the rest of the semester at Texas A&M are going to be online, we may not have very many college students who come back. The local economy really relies on college students. If they are not here, I bet more than a few places will go out of business. Though I have heard recently that more college students may be coming back, local businesses are still going to be hurting because everywhere is closing. Because no one is going out anymore and staying sequestered at home, businesses are going to have to start laying off employees because they don’t have the money to pay them.

And why are we going to these extreme measures? Everyone talks about “flattening the curve,” the idea being that lots of people are going to get the coronavirus so the best we can do is try to spread out the time it takes so the hospitals can handle them. This makes sense until the other factors are taken into consideration. Businesses are closing. People are going to lose their jobs. The stock market crash from all of the panic has led to the loss of retirement funds for people. But this virus isn’t really that deadly. Yeah, it’s miserable to get this virus, but does it justify shutting down the nation and potentially ruining people’s futures to keep people from getting sick? Deaths from traffic accidents outnumber the deaths by the coronavirus. Should we shut down all roads? Now the virus is dangerous for the sick and elderly, and of course, precautions should be taken for them in particular. But is it necessary to take things to this level for everyone?

This whole situation has made me frustrated verging on angry. People are panicking and losing their minds. We have never shut the country down like this before for any other pandemic, including the yearly flu, which also has killed many more people. Studies have indicated the virus does not do well in warm weather, and as it approaches spring and summer, I’m hopeful this will all go away. Though these precautions will help mitigate the spread of the virus, I’m not sure if it’s worth the price we’re all paying.