Six Feet Apart Stories: Post COVID-19 Hopes

Only two months have passed. The future still feels so out of reach, as if we are stuck in a time loop. Many are struggling from the impact of COVID-19 and every day feels like a never ending cycle of uncertainty and negativity. However, we need hope to bring light during times of darkness and use that hope to keep living. We understand that you may be skeptical but hope does not mean ignorant bliss. Hope involves a dynamic cognitive motivational system where emotions follow cognition—meaning they motivate us to accept circumstances or to strategize and take action.  So we know that it is hard to remain positive and hopeful during these times— as you have every right to be—however, these are the exact reasons why we need hope right now. 

With COVID-19 well and present, here are some stories from college students sharing their hopes post COVID-19. 

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Vinootna Kakarla - Third Year

Major: International Relations and Public Health Policy

University of California, Irvine

 

We live in a world with so much oppression, hatred, systemic racism and policy corruption. We live in a country that hasn’t listened to its black people at all, with many double standards and oppression I cannot even fathom coming from a place of privilege. COVID-19 was the start of a domino effect that we see for our country. Individuals complained about not being able to visit their favorite restaurants or get their nails done, with firearms, due to quarantine from COVID 19, only to see those in office dismiss them as “nice people who want to see their lives back”. 

However, when black individuals protested the death of a black man due to a murder by a corrupt policeman, the racial biases in play in our country and the blatant police brutality/lynching going on that has been haunting throughout centuries, the people in our executive branch of government called them THUGS and incited violence and shooting if they protested any further. The double standards and the systemic racism is not something new or before COVID-19, but staying at home and people having more time to check the news on these matters has put these issues to light. 

Maybe it's the fear I have that nothing will change for minorities within this country after COVID-19. By far, racial minorities are the ones disproportionately affected by COVID-19. It's the fear that things will never change for racial minorities in this country even after all the protests. 

My hope for change would be to finally put to light the racial minorities and the poor healthcare system firstly within the country I live in, the United States. In addition to the political turmoil within the United States, poor policy planning and governmental planning in response to COVID-19 has been haunting those who have been unemployed because of the pandemic. With the number of cases rising, people dying and people still being ignorant to COVID-19 only shows how people are oblivious to public health around the world. Different responses to COVID-19 have been positive and negative as well. I think these are the times the world needs to come together and understand global health crises within our planet and how to take fast action against viruses that will come about for the future. 

I hope that racial bias, racism and privilege has been shown to light because of the pandemic. I hope people take action for the ideals they believe in and fight against oppressive systemic racism within our society that has let down black people for generations. I hope that public health and public health initiatives are taken more seriously after the faults during the pandemic. And I hope people learn to not take their lives for granted anymore, to educate themselves and to be less ignorant of all the topics haunting our society today and for the future. 

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Angelina Ho - Third Year

Major: Psychological Science

University of California, Irvine

 

The year 2020 is and will be an odd year. Plans, hopes and dreams have been stalled. Problems continue to rise while we are confined in our homes. People's mental health is at an all-time low due to the lack of social interactions. COVID-19 has exposed the worst of the worst of the United States. Selfish people have countlessly voiced their opinion about how their freedom has been stripped away from them and have demanded that they be given their rights back. From Doja's Cat's alleged racism to the president's disturbing claims, numerous controversies have surfaced. Healthcare systems have uncovered racial and income disparities in receiving adequate and affordable healthcare. Verbal and physical violence against Asians has hit an all-time high. And centuries of systematic and current racism has created an uproar in brown/black communities. The year 2020 is truly an unprecedented time and it will forever be ingrained in history. Ultimately, the course of history is up to us to change history for the better. 

Several of these issues have emerged from the grave that was swept under the rug for years in the United States. In light of COVID-19, many are using their voice to speak forth concerning these matters. It is more important now than ever that we use our voice to support the oppressed, to raise awareness of the neverending racism towards minorities, and to challenge the government's questionable actions. I have never seen so many reposted Instagram stories, retweeted tweets, or shared Facebook posts covering relevant matters of today's society. In the darkness of times, people are coming together and showing their support for one another.

I hope that everyone—no matter what race—will continue to explicitly voice their concern about major societal and systematic issues and to express their support for discriminated communities long after COVID-19 is over. There will always be ignorant and stubborn people who do not understand the struggles of minorities but we still need to stand united together, educate others on the history of the oppressed, and to raise our voices and take action against the dominant power for these matters to be heard. I hope that the government will admit their faults of our current, inadequate healthcare system that creates racial and income disparities―issues that the United States knows all too well. I hope that people will realize the importance of well-being and that life is too short to worry about the littlest things. Lastly, I hope everyone will have a new profound respect, acceptance, and support for each other no matter what their skin color is, income, religion, and/or occupation. 

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Kimberly Ramirez - Third Year

Major: Economics

University of California, Irvine

 

Quarantine life has left me feeling so restricted and confined that I had to learn new ways to cope with the limited space of my home where I’ve been in quarantine for about a month. Thankfully, I found refuge in my mind via meditation and the natural haven that is my garden, taking in fresh air and the California sun that I’m missing this summer. Regardless of the disruption that this pandemic has caused in my life, this time has allowed me time to self-reflect and come to accept that this experience is worth much more than a fun day at the beach or traveling, it’s about the lives of my family members, healthcare workers, essential workers, and many others, including my own. 

Yet, still there are many people who have yet to see the greater picture that go beyond our boredom, rights, ignorance, etc. Perhaps it’s because as Americans, we indulge in the freedoms and rights we are given, all in the pursuit of happiness, that being our own. With that in mind, in a post-pandemic world, my wish is that people become more considerate of each other, being aware of the impact of their individualistic pursuits on others. Is it worth infecting your family members to dye your hair? Should you really go to work if you are still waiting for lab results, possibly being a carrier of the virus? Should you open your automobile factory or business to stop the profit loss? I just hope people see that their actions have consequences and that in the long run, it is more beneficial to an individual to collaborate with society rather than to work against them as the problem will be solved a lot faster.

In a post-pandemic society, I hope to see individuals being grateful to those key individuals that have carried the economy on their backs, despite the risk of infection and disrespect from the few ignorant and problematic people that have made work impossible. In an on-demand economy brought to us by online commerce and social media, we tend to forget the driving force behind it all. No- not the technology, the human laborers. Prior to this pandemic, it was easy for some to overlook these workers because they are all part of a businesses’ system that revolves around the customer- or rather, you. But this experience should have highlighted their importance in society, showing us how fragile this system really is without human labor and what we miss out on without them.

My final wish is to be able to explore the world as this experience has really put into perspective the brevity of life and what true freedom really feels like. I’ve definitely been saving “TikTok” videos about unique travel spots that I plan to visit post-pandemic and re-prioritizing what I want from life. My passion to explore has been awakened and I can’t wait until it’s safe to wander again.

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Mehak Dureja - Third Year

Major: Psychology

San Diego State University

 

These unprecedented times in our world have allowed me to reflect immensely about my approach to life and the many factors that are involved in this situation. I began this quarantine feeling excited about the extended spring break we were all going to receive, and now I realize that I completely misread the situation. Throughout the last few months I have realized just how flawed our healthcare system is and disappointing our government’s priorities are. The internet is bombarded with articles about coronavirus updates about the future. I remember reading a research about past outbreaks in history and how detrimental they were to healthcare workers’, essential workers’, and civilians’ mental health, yet all we see on our screens is falsified information to scare us. 

I hope that when we come out of this, our generation continues to utilize their voice to fight for a better justice and healthcare system, mental health for ALL becomes a number one priority, and our government actually understands the consequences of being unprepared for such circumstances. The lack of discourse between multiple parties played a significant role in the escalation of this pandemic and I am hopeful and certain that coming generations will help bridge this gap and never take the little beauties of their life for granted.