It is no surprise to anyone that the longer this pandemic goes on, the more people are going to anxiously await the day life can go back to the way it was. Believe me, I get it. For the last four years, I spent most of my time living hundreds, even thousands of miles away from my family. I had all the freedom of young adulthood, and now I’m back home in a full house depending on my family to support me. I lost my job when the University closed housing. I’m not really sure what I’m going to do this summer, let alone next fall.
But that doesn’t mean the government should rush to reopen our communities.
Georgia was one of the last states to go on lockdown and is now one of the first states to reopen. As of Tuesday night, hair salons, barbershops and other businesses are allowed to reopen in Georgia. Restaurants will follow next week. Not to mention, the state’s beaches have been open since the state first locked down on April 3. And this order comes after nearly a week of protesters gathering across the country to express their frustrations with the mandatory shelter-in-place orders enforced by their state governments.
Now as a soon-to-be college graduate with I-don’t-even-want-to-think-about-how-much debt from student loans, I agree that the economic consequences are scary. It’s scary now in a full house with four people to feed. I know it’s going to be terrifying when I try to move out. And it will likely be frustrating job hunting in an economy that has to follow social distancing guidelines and strict sanitation codes like we’ve never seen until now.
Despite all of that, though, we need to accept this “new normal” and stop trying to fight it. A couple of weeks is not long enough anymore. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a stay-at-home order more than 30 days ago, and that hasn’t been long enough. We throw around the word “unprecedented” all we want, but that does not make our situation any less real.
One of the most important things I learned in college is how to let go of things I cannot control and focus on the things I can. I cannot control the economy. I cannot control what other people do with their lives. And I cannot make COVID-19 disappear. But what I can do now is focus on the rest of this semester. I might not be able to poof myself into my dream job tomorrow, but I can apply to all the jobs I would have if there wasn’t a pandemic. I can learn to work from home.
I understand I speak from a position of privilege. I have opportunities that not everyone in our nation has access to. But I’m doing the best I can with what I have. You should too. Everyone should. This isn’t forever. It will pass one day. I pray we will recover physically, emotionally and financially.
Kiera Alexander is a senior journalism major from Augusta, Georgia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.