By Sarai Henriquez, Assistant Culture Editor
Wash my hands? OK. If that’s the main way this virus with the funny name perfect for memes (Heineken bottle wearing a medical mask in front of a Corona bottle) will affect me, no big deal, right?
It’s a big deal now. As one of my professors, Dr. Brant Burkey, told our class shortly before our unplanned break, we are now “living in confusing times,” and we have to take it seriously.
As a senior, I’m disappointed. My grandparents in El Salvador, so proud of their granddaughter graduating from an American university, won’t see it. I had to cancel a trip to New York City with my boyfriend. No Disneyland for a while.
But none of that compares to people losing their jobs, or nothing feeling normal, of having no idea what the future holds.
I am scared. Not of the virus, but reactions to its threat. Last week it was hoarding toilet paper. What happens if the power goes out?
It’s easy to imagine any terrible tomorrow bringing out the worst in people, but so hard to imagine one where the worst brings out our best. Yet, it is possible, but imagining, hoping and wishing won’t make it happen.
Only our actions will.
AWashington Post story last week began with worst-case scenarios from experts. But, there was a “scary but empowering truth,” in those scientific models, the story continued, “that what happens next depends largely on [the] 328 millions inhabitants of this country–all making tiny decisions on a daily basis with outsize consequences for our collective future.”
Getting through, or not getting through, this depends on what we as students, teachers, mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters choose.
I am choosing to stay at home as much as possible to keep from being infected or infecting others. To wash my hands regularly and thoroughly. To not surrender to fear or anxiety but to consider how I can help others instead of expecting help from them.
And to my fellow seniors? We may not walk in May in front of our families as proud graduating seniors, but we can walk through this crisis with our heads held high, recognizing and appreciating the dignity and respect every human being deserves.
Yes, we are living in scary and confusing times; but it’s also our time to rise and overcome the first real test of our generation.
It’s in all of our hands.