My sisters and I are your standard introverts. We do not seek out conversations or go to many parties. We are content with a pantry stuffed with junk food, a marathon of classic Disney movies, and a house filled with books. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. and social distancing became highly encouraged, and in some cases mandatory, we weren’t fazed.
“Social distancing? Big whoop! We do that every day!” we thought. We didn’t think of the implications until events we were looking forward to were canceled.
First, it was the news that Yallwest, a three-day Santa Monica book festival that I have been attending annually with my family, would not be taking place this year as a precaution following the COVID-19 pandemic. I was looking forward to meeting other book nerds and receiving new advanced readers copies. The festival is one way I learn about new authors that are trying to make a name for themselves in the young adult genre, and some of these authors have scheduled livestreams in an attempt to promote their books amidst the crisis, but the experience is not the same.
I was also disappointed when I received the announcement that ASPB and other campus organizations would be unable to organize any on-campus events for the entire spring quarter. I’ve come to rely on the different events that ASPB hosts as a way to de-stress after hours of long classes and studying. Attending free movie premieres organized by the ASPB or plays arranged by the theater department were fun opportunities for me to spend time with my friends.
Spring Splash was never a big deal to me, but I know it was a loss for many other students. However, the biggest concern most students have in regards to the cancellation of campus events is the money they have spent on those events that will no longer be happening.
Second-year biology major Kathy Nguyen expressed that she is “pretty bummed that Spring Splash is canceled, but I’m more mad about the fact that we won’t be getting a refund for services that we won’t be able to have access to. Simply refunding fees, like the ASUCR or the Rec Center fees, will help my family tremendously during this time.” The ASUCR has no control over refunding fees that they receive, but, given the circumstances, students like Nguyen believe these fees should be refunded or used to help pay faculty workers who are unable to do their normal jobs because of the campus closure.
The class of 2020 has the most to lose when it comes to important life events. I’m a sophmore and any events I lose can be done next year; my sister on the other hand, is a senior in high school. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, her school has been temporarily shut down. She expects to attend her classes and take her AP tests online. Prom and Graduation Night, a full-day trip to Disneyland for all graduating high school seniors, have since been canceled since cases of the coronavirus began to sprout in California. Like many other schools at this time, her school is currently brainstorming ways to hold a graduation ceremony should the virus continue to spread.
The virus has prevented the class of 2020 from experiencing valuable moments with friends at once-in-a-lifetime events. My sister has managed to cope by frequently video calling her friends and playing online games, such as Club Penguin. Thankfully, the internet has helped keep everyone connected while still practicing social distancing.
The biggest shock for me was when I received an email announcing that my study abroad program had been canceled. I had been accepted into the summer program of Cambridge University so I was surprised that it would be canceled this far in advance. The fact that there are activities in July being shut down has me concerned about how long this pandemic may really last for.
In the end, we have to remember that the cancellation of any events can be remedied at a later time when the crisis is over. Our health is the number one priority. We have to take care of ourselves and the people around us by taking precautions to avoid spreading the virus. Remember to wash your hands and limit any amount of physical contact with others. Things may not have gone according to plan, but, if we remain calm and continue practicing social distancing, the virus will hopefully stop spreading.