I remember hearing the news from my mother back in January, how a deadly virus was spreading throughout the region like wildfire, and the reports of people suffering in Wuhan, China. I recall leaving Southridge for spring break, wondering if I’d be able to come back afterwards. I remember hearing about the anti-mask protests, mandated quarantine, and the steady rise of cases. It weighed on me like a cloud, casting a shadow over the future I envisioned. What if I couldn’t go to school again? What happens if someone I know gets sick? What does my future now entail? These questions congregated in my head like the water molecules of a cloud—persistent, dark, and heavy.
The one thing that the pandemic couldn’t take away from me was my desire for learning. Although I was required to socially distance myself from people, to stay at home, and to do my duty to diminish the spread of the virus, the pandemic couldn’t make me stay away from knowledge. And that, I discovered, was increasingly essential in a time where misinformation and unreliable sources were rampant. Misleading media headlines, conspiracy articles, and other raucous whisperings perpetuated fear and panic, and it was difficult to see through the smog of misinformation. However, I did my research and tried to look at the pandemic through a critical lens. What does the virus really do to your body? What kind of risk am I and the people closest to me in? What’s the effectiveness of social distancing, wearing a mask, or staying inside?
By being informed about my situation, I was able to act on decisions with confidence. This pandemic instilled in me the value of three different principles: respect, responsibility, and critical thinking. Although I understood that the majority of what was going on was utterly out of my control, I reassured myself that I was doing the best I could with what I know. I learned to appreciate all of the little things that happen in my life and sought to acknowledge fragility while practicing resilience. I hope that as fellow human beings, we can all think critically, behave respectfully, act responsibly, and get through this pandemic together.
Contributed by Ryan C, Grade 12
Originally published in Spirit Magazine - Fall 2020