By: Archiebald Faller Capila
During this time, just last year, I was at a standstill not only as a student but as a person. Being an extrovert, I had to adjust big time as to how I could eventually keep up with the changing world. Who would have thought that the health crisis will be at this stage?
And day after day, we see ourselves trying to survive a worsening pandemic. Some say that it’s 2020 all over again. Some say it’s way worse than what transpired last year. For me? It’s all the same because until now, we can’t fully get back up and claim a victory against this invincible enemy.
Some say that we can only become better by learning from our past. True as it may be, we must still consider how we should treat various situations. Ask yourself—what were you doing last year? How did you eventually cope with the major changes? How did you manage to survive this long? How did you create an environment suitable not only for you but for those within your respective households as well?
Last year, I wrote an essay in the hopes of telling my part of a story while I was locked in my room, trying to become a better person overall. Here is the full text of what I had to say:
I have lost count of the days I last stepped foot outside our humble home. For the past few weeks, the closest I ever got to experiencing life outside was through the sunlight that beams through my room—the one which wakes me up during lunchtime.
It has been a weird routine for me. My body clock has been completely changed because of the current state of lockdown we are in. I would wake up at around 12:00 noon to have lunch with my family. The next few hours would be spent trying to comply with some of the academic requirements sent by our respective professors. I would then fall into an abyss of imagination and daydreaming, which will then be followed by a quick afternoon nap.
Perhaps “quick” is too mild of a word. I would wake up seeing my mother outside my room, calling my attention for dinner. At the dining table, we would talk lightly about how our days went. I would always check up on my parents—my dad who is currently working for the local government, and my mom who is currently working as the head pharmacist of a local pharmacy. Being in the frontline in this war against a pandemic, I am thankful that they are doing well. After our meal, I’d share a joke or two with my younger sisters as well.
Before cleaning up the plates, I would take a glimpse of what the news has to offer. Every station, however, offers the same. The rising number of cases related to COVID-19 positive patients alarm me every single day. The deaths make me worry. The current landscape we are in makes me want to go out there and help—but I can’t. All I could do, for now, is perform an act expected of a good citizen—stay home.
After doing the dishes and taking a shower, my “day” as a student starts. I would collate every assignment there is as well as the subject’s syllabus and download the reading materials which will be needed for the same. I would create a timetable so as to manage my time on what to do first and what is required the soonest. I would make use of a faster internet connection during the night to comply with my assignments. I would play my upbeat playlist in order to stay awake. I would then take a break, an hour or two into my studies, and have a cup of milk and a slice of bread with my siblings. And of course, as expected, I sometimes fail to follow the same schedule I plot every single night.
Call it what you must, but productivity is an element lacking in each and every student out there. I would know because almost all my friends cry for the same. Through their respective posts in their social media accounts or through their messages in our messaging apps, they all feel drained and rusty. They all feel like sinking in quicksand.
At first, I thought I was the only one. In the middle of the night, I would stare blankly at my laptop, imagining my life before the lockdown. I would recall the playful banter with my friends before our class begins. I would recall myself as a productive student hustling every damn day just to finish as soon as possible this hellhole of a journey. I would recall looking at the smile of my partner before holding her hand while she talks about how her day went. I would recall all of these and miss them all the same. And at times, I can’t help but cry myself to sleep during this pandemic. After all is said and done, I would then realize that it’s already past 3 or 4 in the morning. And when I hear roosters crowing all at the same time, I see the same as a sign that I should now sleep and take a rest.
But to me, that’s not the worst part. Because of the current situation, we may very well be trapped in the new normal. It will be complete ridicule to say that after all these are said and done—after the lockdown has been lifted, everything will go back to normal.
At the time we all go back to our respective classes and respective works, doubt will linger on whether or not you will greet a friend with a casual buss on her cheeks. Doubt will linger on whether or not you will shake hands with your boss. Doubt will linger on whether or not you will spend some quality time at a mall. Doubt will linger on whether or not everything will go back to the way it was.
Be that as it may, we still have to move forward and look at tomorrow as an opportunity to do good—to be better. While unproductivity is valid today, we must not give up on what the other days may bring us. The new normal is here to stay, and it is up to us on how to handle this dilemma we are facing.
In the near future, some days or weeks from now, we will be able to find our groove again and be the better versions of who we currently are. To sink in quicksand or fall into an imaginative abyss is one thing, but to let that sinkhole consume you as a whole is another. Every day, we try to shrug off what may be bothering us, and it’s enough. What we need to do is survive one day at a time and do things one step after the other.
At the end of it all, we will need each other. At the end of the day, we will need every human spirit there is to uplift all those who have sunk deep—those who have fallen. At the end of it all, we will need everyone to figure out a world that will now be determined by the new normal.
And together, we can.
Last year, I was optimistic enough to see a better future. Last year, I was under the impression that everything will go back to how things are sooner than we think. Last year was a disaster with glimpses of hope.
This year, let us try to avoid becoming complacent. The pandemic is not over. It will take some time before we could eventually recover. From various factors including a shortage of vaccines and a shortage of funds for the needy, we are still hampered and still in the middle of a long-term battle against COVID-19. While I called for us to hope last year, we need to act this year as well.
Try your best to help. Don’t box yourself on how you could lend a hand. Remember that at the end of the day, what matters most is that we move forward as a healthy community. At the end of the day, what is important is that we are able to embrace this new normal, and work for the better normal in the near future.
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