As a senior in high school, whenever I expressed how nervous I was to leave behind my family and friends, I was always told that “everyone is in the same boat.” After settling into the Fordham community and adopting new friends and routines, I quickly realized through experience that there was truth to those words. Now, unexpectedly, it seems that those words are becoming increasingly more truthful, as all of us continue to face unprecedented hardships on a daily basis.
During my freshman year, social media perpetuated my feelings of anxiety and angst because it seemed as if everyone else was having the time of their lives to start college. Now that I am a few years older and a half dozen semesters smarter, I know that social media is just the best side of the coin, but it was not out of the ordinary for me to feel such jealousy and concern. During the start of college, most of us were in the same boat with our apprehensive feelings; however, this pandemic has been disproportionately destructive, affecting everyone differently.
I read somewhere online that this time around, we are all in the same storm, but not on the same boat. At the start of quarantine, I was stuck in my house with nothing to do, but I was lucky enough to have a home. I was sick of having the same boring dinners with my family every night, but I was lucky enough to have food. I was sick of playing video games and bored with online classes, but I was lucky enough to have stable internet access. For some, quarantine was an optimally cathartic experience where we could stay up late binge-watching shows and sleep in late, knowing we had minimal responsibility. For others, quarantine was a time of endless loneliness and increased anxiety, not knowing whether loved ones would live to see past this pandemic.
What I think is necessary to recognize is that we are all connected in one way or another. We are all incredibly similar, too, as our DNA is 99.9% the same. While that 0.1% accounts for so much, we all share the ability to reason, understand and empathize. This pandemic has proven that life is both fragile and beautiful. It has forced us to approach situations differently with the added perspective of those less fortunate, knowing that “somebody” could easily be someone you love. Call it a silver lining, but this perspective catalyzed by these unparalleled last few months is necessary for growth so that the future can be one filled with compassion, equality and love.
We might all be in the same storm, but we aren’t in the same boat.