We did it, Joe
As the school year comes to a close, and we approach what will hopefully be a return to in-person instruction in the fall, the Editorial Board wants to take a moment to reflect on the past year or so. It hasn’t been easy, but despite it all, we’ve persevered, and that’s worth taking the time to appreciate.
First things first, to all of our fellow students, congratulations—you’ve made it this far. When the world shut down during finals week and we all took that first test online in Winter Quarter 2020, none of us could have anticipated another four quarters of glitchy Zoom calls, awkward breakout rooms and far too much time looking at a laptop in our bedrooms. All that and more was in store, and we took it like champs.
Living during a pandemic is hard for everyone, but as college kids we’ve overcome a lot. We were robbed of one of the most special years of our lives; one of the last years many of us will get to go to school and learn in a community of curious and excited peers; a time to explore, grow and make connections on campus; and for Davis students in particular, the chance to bike around our beautiful campus, bursting with life as the first warm days of spring arrive.
Time management took on a whole new meaning as we navigated pre-recorded lectures that piled up way too easily and a dropoff in motivation with less opportunities for breaks, socializing or just going outside. Days blended together without the chance to do something fun on the weekends, and Saturdays became designated days to catch up on those aforementioned lectures. As used to it as we are now, those first few months, well, sucked.
While COVID-19 inarguably took a specific toll on students, administrators and instructors deserve praise as well. While there were exceptions, so many of them went to great lengths to ensure that we could continue learning in the most productive ways possible. To all the professors that were more lenient with deadlines, who extended time to take tests or even just acknowledged the mental toll the situation was taking on us all: Thank you. You made this year a lot easier.
All of these challenges didn’t come without silver linings, though. As we learned how to balance school, extracurriculars and downtime all from the comfort of our own rooms—to the point where our rooms were no longer so comfortable—we were forced to slow down, to take a step back and be prudent about how we spend our time.
We discovered the beauty of flexibility; when coupled with the impending doom of a pandemic, it might’ve made it easier to fall behind, but during regular schooling, it can give us the opportunity to take advantage of life without jeopardizing academics. Going to Putah Creek instead of lecture can be the mental health day that makes the rest of the week doable, but only with the option to watch the recorded lecture later.
We can’t look back on this year without acknowledging some of the worst moments in our country’s history: some of the deadliest days in U.S. history, continued unwarranted and unjustified killing of Black Americans by police, heightened anti-Asian sentiment and violence and a deadly attack at our nation’s Capitol Hill. These atrocities and their outcomes continue to harm American citizens, and moving forward from this hard year can’t be done without acknowledging and addressing them.
Optimism doesn’t make up for lost life or a socially and politically divided state, but there was some good in the last 14 months that is worth noting. We saw, despite violent protest, Joe Biden get elected as 46th president of the U.S., and Kamala Harris, the first female, Black and Asian American vice president, along with him. Biden’s political agenda is proving to be quite progressive, to the surprise of some democrats, including a strong proposed investment in infrastructure and jobs and formal recognition of June as Pride Month.
Before the election, the COVID-19 vaccine broke the record for fastest vaccine ever created, and the subsequent rollout has reached millions of people across the globe. Many, many more are still without access, but the rate of vaccine production is increasing, giving rich countries the opportunity—and moral obligation—to send supplies to poorer countries.
And really, the most impressive part of this year has been the sheer resiliency of the human race in the face of something almost no one was prepared for (even if we could have been). This pandemic affected us all differently, but we all share the experience of having to adapt to seemingly unbearable circumstances, and as much as we’ve lost, we should be proud for making it this far. Here’s to pushing on, and making it to the beginning of the end.
Written by: The Editorial Board