As Dumbledore once said to Harry Potter on the eve of Voldemort’s return; dark and difficult times lie ahead.
Although their situation was vastly different from ours, I have to admit that this whole thing feels a little like Voldemort returned, and is trying to take hold of the wizarding world. We’re all hunkered down at home scared of going outside, and trying to find a solution to our problem.
I’m not going to lie; it’s hard. I’m a senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, so the transition to online classes and the postponement of our commencement was especially jarring to me. I was looking forward to walking to the stage in my cap and gown, and receiving my diploma. More than 10 family members were going to gather to see all my hard work pay off, and we were going to have a big celebration. The virus robbed me of more than just my last semester; it robbed me of valuable experiences with friends and family.
Like many of my fellow seniors, I had to pack my bags and say goodbye one last time to a campus that had become like a second home in many ways. And it doesn’t help that the situation changes on an hourly basis, and we don’t know what the next day is going to bring us. It seems that everywhere we turn, COVID-19 is there waiting for us, if not in the form of the coronavirus, in the form of news and THE conversation topic. It seems as if the fear and panic that come with this global pandemic are just as contagious as the virus itself.
It may be easy to give up and feel fear about an especially uncertain future. But, as contagious as all these negative things are, there are things on the other side of the spectrum that spread just as easily. Love and kindness can spread just as easily, and I think we’re in dire need of it during these dark and difficult times.
It may not seem like it, but not all hope is lost. It’s important to remember that we’ve gone through worse as humans, and that this too shall pass.
I know not everybody is able to do this, but those who are, take this time to reach out to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while and see how they’re doing, appreciate this extra family time, take time for yourself and get to know yourself better. Check on your elderly and sick neighbors, and on that neighbor who lives alone. Sing a song from your balcony like they do in Italy, or sing a song to yourself as long as you can. Read that book you’ve been putting off, or watch that TV show you said you’d watch five years ago. Learn a new skill, start a new hobby, or perfect what you already know. Start a groupchat for people to vent about the hardships of being socially distant. Spread that love and kindness to yourself and others, and I promise that things are going to feel a little easier.
These are dark and difficult times, there’s no denying that, but you’re not alone. We may be forced to take distance from one another, but it’s during times like these that we come together as a university — and as a society.