I’ve covered the lunacy, double standards and childish reactions to this pandemic over several previous posts. However, another major point comes to mind that’s important: Life has to go on and we can’t stop our lives due to panic over this or any other crisis.
Covid-19 has affected much of what everyone does regardless of your political persuasions. The endless shutdowns destroying livelihoods, jobs and our economy cannot go on forever, or until zero cases! The double standards that allow rioters burn and loot businesses in the thousands, yet forbid others from attending worship services, funerals, visiting loved ones in hospitals, playing in the park, having friends over, etc… are enraging. A lot of our objections of Leftist restrictions are not even about the restrictions, but about the fact that the rules “apply to thee but not to me” so to speak. I’ve had to give up so many things due to these double standards, milestones in my education, missed job opportunities, missed time with friends and family for some. These pain me and make me feel stressed and angry just as much as I’m sure it does you. However, I can’t just stop what I need to do because of Covid related stress! We still must go on with our jobs, raising our families, and doing school work if you’re a student. I’m sick of all the meltdowns from people using the pandemic as an excuse not to do their school work or projects for jobs!
Yes, there is a definite need for more flexibility such as with technology and resource availability. More flexible deadlines and flexibility in getting work done is beneficial in times like these where we have to figure it out as we go. Thing is, that does not mean we should lower our standards of performance, or for example, cut out aspects of curriculum on a syllabus, or simply cancel all exams and projects because we’re stressed out! Admit it: We’re always stressed out, whether it be family matters, feeling swamped in projects, obligations and responsibilities to juggle, jobs etc. Covid is unprecedented, but if it weren’t here, another major life stressor would be. I’m not saying Covid is not worthy of any worry and some level of stress. I will dance for joy once this is over! What I am saying though is we must continue to function and do our best at our jobs, school and family obligations in spite of Covid. We can’t control much of what goes on around us, but we can control what we choose to do: Melt down and panic and demand “our feelings” take precedence over our obligations, or do what we’ve always done to function in our lives.
Covid is a disease and is more dangerous for some than others. Those who are more in danger naturally should be more concerned. However, does this mean you should never interact with another person again? What if you’re elderly or have conditions that in of themselves may not guarantee you ever will see your loved ones in person again? My 90+ year old grandmother is attending family holidays in person this year despite her increased risk because she knows every day is a gift at her age and wants to see her family even if it means she might catch it. She is not on some suicidal death mission: She wants to see her family for what may be her last times regardless of this pandemic. Obviously the choice is yours, I won’t tell you hers is the only right way to do things, but at least consider her perspective if you’re in advanced years or in poor health.
As for the strong and healthy among us, it is up to us to keep the world running so the more vulnerable can stay home and decide to self isolate! We still need teachers to teach in classes to develop young minds. We still need grocers, delivery people, janitors, healthcare workers, business men and women in this world for some examples. If you can work from home on zoom great, but we need people willing to do in person jobs without panicking. Also, for both remote and in person employees, Covid is not an excuse to do poorer work! You are adults, and adults work through adversity and stress, not break down like children who demand less work at the slightest hardship. Life is full of adversity and setbacks. Adults persevere in spite of that even in the midst of emotional turmoil.
For those who don’t want to do your jobs: Why are you so special you get to demand endless accommodations or your own safety is worth pausing the world, yet feel no moral qualms about “endangering” others, such as the grocers who have to work in person to get food on the shelves, the delivery people who bring it to your doorstep, the delivery guy from your favorite takeout place etc…? Even if you feel you’re being cognizant of their needs, you need others to help you maintain this lifestyle of never leaving your house thus the results are the same: Their lives are risked for your safety. Yet why are you more worthy of safety and less risk than them? And yes, I realize many can still work efficiently remotely, but some careers are just not the same without in person interaction.
Lastly, for college/grad students, I know intimately the life and challenges of a student in higher education. I know the stress of several term papers and presentations. The late nights. The studying. The professor who assigns way too much every week. The stress of getting a good GPA, good internships, good opportunities such as practical experiences to move on in academia and careers. I know how bad it stings to get one’s internship cancelled due to Covid, or what would have been my first academic conference to present my research and the realization that there wouldn’t be time for another one in my undergrad career. I have lost several academic and social milestones. Like each of you, I deeply hurt for these lost experiences and opportunities. I too, grieve.
However, that is NOT an excuse to let my GPA slide, or demand my professors not give me a normal workload, or omit curricula from their syllabi. I am an adult, who must learn that in the real world, my job won’t stop because my life is in turmoil. Deadlines will still exist even when I hurt inside. When my worries seem overwhelming. When I will have personal obligations other than my career. Does this mean there is no room for flexibility and understanding for others? NO! Self care including taking a breather is important, but part of self care is reaching out to others, even professionals in some cases to get you back on your feet, not hide in the darkness of your mind unable to function for weeks or months on end. A reasonable accommodation is modifying an assignment to adapt to a remote format, or in light of a roadblock one cannot control such as access to databases off campus. Maybe even a more flexible deadline/late work policy. It is not cancelling every single term paper and test and omitting key aspects of your chosen field in the syllabus! We can’t control much of how this pandemic plays out, but we can choose to push forward and excel in the pursuit of our aspirations in spite of that.
For EVERYONE: We need flexibility, understanding and creativity to get through these darker times. That includes accommodating reasonable changes in everyone’s lives. However, that does not mean we get to put the world on pause indefinitely and hide in our basements. We still must do our best every day, work just as hard as you would have, and choose resilience over fear and breakdowns. Imagine our lifetimes were shifted 100 years back: Think 2020’s bad? Try 1914-1918, 1918-1919, 1929-1939 and 1939-1945! (I guess public school didn’t teach you much history if you can’t figure out the significance of these dates 😉 ) Basically decades of war and instability, as well as a global pandemic! They got through their ordeal, we must get through ours. If this pandemic is like a war, the healthcare workers and scientists are like the soldiers at the front, and the rest of us are like the civilians maintaining the home-front to keep our country going!
(P.S. To the person who compared Covid with living through WWII, I dare you to say that to any elder who did live through it!)
Biden said there will be a “dark winter” ahead, but through resilience and perseverance in the face of this adversity, rather than panic and fragility, we can still shine light this time of turmoil.