Life can change quickly in our globalized world. The novel coronavirus is proof. It is speculated that, in a matter of months, a novel coronavirus that originated in animals on another continent has forced all University of System of Georgia schools to move classes online for the rest of the semester. There are now 17 confirmed cases in Athens-Clarke County, over 55,000 cases in the United States and more than 436,000 cases currently worldwide.
Together, we can make the best of this awful situation. We can head the warnings from government and health officials, obey social distancing and "flatten the curve." All it takes is a little bit of teamwork. Yes, you might have to skip eating at your favorite restaurant for a while, but, at the end of the day, we must do our best to be helpful and look out for others.
To me, and others I am sure, it feels as though I have had something stolen from me — a part of my college experience I will never get back because we are not in Athens. There is nothing like being at school. I find it ironic that I dreaded having to go back to the daily grind of class after a fun spring break, only to be dismayed when told that we would be away much longer.
It is during this time, though, that we must be cautious. Washing your hands, staying home if you are sick and helping those in need are critical. This outbreak seems certain to get worse. If communities in the United States and the world show each other kindness, however, then we’ll be able to deal with this tragic pandemic much better.
There are some among us who require help in order to live a normal life because of COVID-19, especially the elderly and those with underlying conditions. We must look outward to see how we can help others, rather than looking inward at how we can help ourselves.
To those who are feeling the same grief over lost times in Athens — there is nothing you can change now other than what will happen in the future. There is no point in being angry because something is canceled. Appreciate the memories of the past, while also living life to its fullest potential in the future.
When we return and this is all over: go to that concert at Georgia Theatre, go cheer on the Bulldogs as loud as you can between the hedges, spend time with those you treasure and put in those hard studying days at the Zell B. Miller Learning Center. If this pandemic teaches us anything, then it should be that nothing is guaranteed, not even tomorrow. I, for one, look forward to the first day back in Athens, and I’m confident the start of classes next year will be a great feeling. See you in August, Athens.