DANICA CREAHAN WRITES — When the news broke, I was on a rollercoaster. Not an emotional one. I was literally at Disneyland, checking my school email, anxious despite being at the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ because, unlike many residents of the U.S,. I had been following the spread of Covid-19 for months at that point. Both a student of journalism and a bit of a hypochondriac, I was and am the perfect candidate for becoming an expert on the Coronavirus pandemic. So the announcement that school was moving online, an announcement I could just feel was preliminary to moving online for the remainder of the semester, was a somewhat expected wake up call. This wasn’t just on the news anymore, it wasn’t just the topic of discussion with others on my commute to and from school, it was here, in the U.S., in Los Angeles County, in my community. When the ride was over, I went to wash my hands immediately.
Since then, I’ve had whiplash. The final decision to transition online for the rest of the semester came, ironically, on Friday the thirteenth, and since then it has felt like a scramble to keep up with the situation. I’m lucky enough to live at home with my parents, whom I get along with, and on whom I can rely on financially in a time when essentially all college students’ jobs are being shut down. But it is still tough to live perpetually in the same space, sedentary, all the while filled with anxiety over a world in turmoil and knowing I’m indefinitely unable to work. It has also been challenging to navigate this time with all the weird pressure on millennial and Gen Z culture to be “productive” in this time of forced hibernation. I can hardly focus on an essay for class, or attending “online class,” let alone making or doing something worthwhile with my abundance of spare time.
This isn’t the scariest thing that the world has ever seen, but we are fighting an unseen enemy every single day now, one that forces us all to have unprecedented faith in one another in the effort to protect our community, country, and the world as a whole.
And yet, I still have to make space in my brain to deal with midterms, I still have to attempt to plan my course schedule for next fall, and I still have to try to envision a future in which I can work an internship in a real office again, instead of hearing a gut wrenching announcement about the death toll in New York – just an hour from where my boyfriend is currently quarantining – and swimming in a pool of anxiety – then returning to writing this piece, calm, in my room, where nothing really seems amiss. It’s like I never really got off that roller coaster.