Senior column: What we can learn from the pandemic

I spent weeks thinking about what I wanted my senior column to be about. I imagined it to be some sort of SHU swan song; I’d talk about my favorite parts of campus, the friends I made, the mentors I had and the things that I learned over the past four years. But that initial idea changed because it’s hard to ignore everything that’s going on in the world right now.

Photo via state.gov

The coronavirus is real and it’s scary. In an attempt to be optimistic, I’m trying to find the silver lining or the light at the end of the tunnel. We’re being bombarded with information, updates and press conferences daily, if not hourly and that’s not a bad thing. It’s okay that the media is over-reporting information because in doing so, they’re informing the public on something some people aren’t taking seriously enough.

No one has a monopoly on the pain going through society. We’re entitled to feel the way that we do. Whether you’re missing your last semester of college, your graduation is postponed or cancelled, your post-grad job offer has been rescinded or you or a loved one has been directly affected by this pandemic, pain is valid.

All these scenarios warrant reactions and never let anyone shame you for it. But at the same time, perspective is also important. Awareness of what other people are going through is a good thing.

Being members of an individualistic society, it’s so easy for us to get caught up in our lives and our lives only. Too many people have been shamed on the news and on social media for going against guidelines and continuing to go out. While for some, going out could be a coping mechanism, we need to understand that this pandemic is bigger than all of us. Even if you think you’re superhumanly immune, your next door neighbor may not be, the old woman opening the door after you may not be and the old man who grabbed the box of cereal you put back on the shelf isn’t.

If this pandemic should teach us anything, it’s how intertwined our lives really are. The way this has spread and continues to spread is evidence enough of humanity’s interconnectivity. A person buys everything at your local supermarket and the community is suddenly aware of the impact we have on each other, suddenly aware that the world is more than just you. Open your eyes and realize that, at the end of the day, we’re all one human family. We will fall together and we’ll overcome together. Stay home, stay safe and stay alive. Do it for yourself and every person you don’t realize you come into contact with on a daily basis.

Rhania Kamel is a senior communications major from Jersey City, New Jersey. She can be reached at rhania.kamel@student.shu.edu. Find her on Twitter @RhaniaKamel.

Author: Rhania Kamel

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