None of this feels real. It feels like a collective bad dream that we’ll all awake from and return to normal, but I know that’s not the case. This entire situation has redefined what is ‘normal,’ and I believe that the novel coronavirus will have a massive cultural impact that will be visible for years to come.
I’m fortunate enough that this has been a smooth transition. I live in New Jersey, meaning that upon the university closing, I had no long car, train, or airplane rides to get home. I have the tools, the space, and the support needed to continue working and learning from home, and I am blessed to be healthy and that my family is healthy. But not everybody can say the same, and I think more has to be done on every level to ensure that students have the resources and support they need to succeed academically.
Before the switch to remote learning, I was taking four online classes, one in-person class, and working. All of my courses assignments were adjusted slightly, and the professor for my in-person class made the transition very smoothly, and translated the learning material very well. Perhaps this forced transition to remote learning will enable professors to rethink the way their courses are structured. For example, perhaps my one in-person class will be offered in person as well as remotely in future semesters depending on my professor’s opinion about how the class does as a whole online. Hopefully the forced transition makes professors- even if it is only a fraction of the professors at Rutgers- realize their classes can be taught remotely.
I miss a few things: I miss the structure and routine I had, I miss being with my co-workers in person, I miss the excitement from helping to plan Rutgers Day. I miss my friends. I miss the LX and Brower. I miss the anticipation and feeling in my stomach every time I thought of commencement. I miss the simplicity of what ‘normal’ meant before all of this. But I have a lot to be grateful for today.
My typical workday starts around 8. I take a quick shower, eat breakfast, and start working at 9. I take an hour lunch break and usually wrap up around 5 or 6. Depending on how I’m feeling, I’ll push through and finish whatever class work I have to get done before having dinner. I stay connected mainly through social media and FaceTime.
I think it’s fair to feel afraid right now. So much is unknown, and we have to take this one day at a time. We have to be thankful to the people who risk their lives every day to keep our society alive, healthy, and functioning. More has to be done on every level to contain and stop the spread and to support our healthcare workers during this difficult and dangerous time. And to my fellow Scarlet Knights- we’ll get through this together.