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Reflections: Doing the math

At some point, we’ve all done the math — the pandemic started March 2020 and, somehow, has continued now into October 2021. It hasn’t been slowly tapering off, either. Just a month ago, Athens was in the throes of a violent surge of the Delta variant. That’s over 18 months of death, economic instability, anxiety and isolation, along with a cluster of generally awful consequences of quarantine.

If you’re young, like me, doing the math holds a special kind of emotional weight. Quarantine began when I was 17 years old; now, I’m 19 and well on my way to 20. Simply considering the amount of time this event has occupied is enough to send me into a spiral sometimes, not even considering the experiences I’ve had to pass up. 

Like COVID-19 itself, missing these experiences hasn’t stopped, either. Just weeks ago, the city of Athens canceled the Halloween block party. Some classes have been moved online. The Class of 2020 was just given a proper graduation — kept outside and distanced, of course, because COVID-19 was still raging. 

The 18 months have been long and dragged out: an absolute slog. Back in May, we thought we had finally reached the end of the tunnel with vaccinations. With winter approaching, some of us are anxious to see if December 2021 will be a repeat of last year with some of the highest case and death rates of the pandemic thus far.

Throughout all our discourse and reflection, the question still lingers: who would’ve thought two weeks to “slow the spread” would’ve turned into all this?

With all this in mind, Bobcats, it’s more important than ever that you’re kind to yourselves. Life is hard right now. It’s been 18 months, yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier. We are still working over the hurdles of our now hybrid classes. Trying to socialize while avoiding sickness is a balancing act of its own. The political discourse that has surrounded this event is as vitriolic and toxic as ever. 

This pandemic isn’t a sprint; no, it’s a marathon. Use your resources (counseling, physical exercise and community gatherings), reach out to your friends and, most of all, prioritize yourself. Preserving your mental health is the best way to get through the long haul. 

Most crucially, understand that you’re not alone in all these. It’s been 18 months for everyone at this school, in this country, and on this planet. It may not be easy, but at least we’re in it together. 

Colleen McLafferty is a sophomore studying history at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Tell Colleen by tweeting her at @colleenbealem.

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