The college student dive into the interface of online schooling is but a microcosm of the new reality we all face.
I’ve always thrived in environments that are a reprieve from the chaos of bustling people, the choruses of conversations, and the exchange of movements. I am, after all, at my most creative when left alone with an idle mind, or at least I had perceived myself to be. I can clearly recall anxiously awaiting the arrival of Spring Break at the beginning of March; the stress from various engagements and my inability to properly balance school, work, and a social life had me desperately awaiting a break. Well, low and behold, a global pandemic hit, and now I am drowning in the longest break I have ever experienced, and I have found I am, actually, not as creative in idleness as I had been so smugly convinced of before.
I have found myself drained of all motivation, reaching for some semblance of a drive into what is now a void. While I may devour books as I always did before, I have not drawn up designs of clothes, written for leisure, or even painted. Perhaps it is being back at home, where I am not the Farrin I present to the world; I am nothing more than the child I was when I ventured out of home, unsure and loosely motivated. College has allowed me to blossom into the person I truly am, and it is, after all, inevitable that returning to an environment where you did not mature into who you are today would have this effect. Regardless, while I may have outwardly retreated into being the person I was three years ago, the world rushes on, becoming an irrevocably changed world, with the reality surrounding us before shattering and molding into a new one.
The interface of communication will never be the same.
It is true that the past five decades have brought a revolution in communication, with the creation of networks embedded within the Internet in the 1970s (1), and the first text being sent in 1992 (2). Today we snap, Instagram, tweet—we have created entire verbs of this new language we have created—and we will inevitably see communication evolve once again in the midst of this global pandemic. We have begun to see this unfold already, with virtual birthday parties becoming popular, Zoom viewings with friends that bring a new definition to “movie night,” and online consultations becoming the norm of various businesses.
The reality of education will never be the same.
In-person classes, once considered the epitome of the ideal class, will surely be seen in a new light, with online classes demanding an appreciation from within the student populace. One need only look at science classes to witness such a rapidly changing reality; for science classes where attendance was mandatory because “students won’t pass otherwise,” online classes are subtly rebelling against this idea. Students are showing to be as successful, if not more, despite the transition.
Polarization will begin to disintegrate.
Perhaps it was only a global pandemic that could shock the 50-plus pattern of increasing political polarization. Escalating tensions between Republicans and Democrats have been the course of the nation for a while now. But only a virus, one that does not distinguish between a Republican or Democrat or a Liberal or Conservative, could only have the potential to decrease the ideological political divide. It is, after all, one enemy, one virus, and one people that must unite to battle it.
Perhaps even individualism will erode away.
I choose to be optimistic that the nation will gaze at this pandemic as proof that we must invest more, invest smartly, and finally recognize the deficiencies within our public health system that are calling for a universal system. Individualistic thinking, after all, has no place in healthcare, where one who can afford the means to buy health insurance has the choice to do so; this pandemic has only proven that sickness can be universal, health is universal, and giving universal access to healthcare must be something the nation reconsiders. It only took a pandemic to show that healthcare must be accessible to all.
Yet all these scenarios are just the beginning of what is sure to be a spiral into a novel world. Communication, education, polarization, and healthcare are just stones on the pathway the world is currently traipsing upon. While I may be huddled on a sofa in the middle of Central Pennsylvania, my mind halted at the prospect as to why I am at a standstill, the world spins and dizzies around me, slowly shedding itself of old realities and metamorphosing into a post-pandemic world.