I recently attended one of the most impactful events held by my high school: senior retreat. It was a three-day mandatory retreat where my classmates and I had the opportunity to grow closer to God and to each other. It was incredible and something I am extremely fortunate to have experienced.
When we got back, however, the world seemed to turn inside-out.
For the majority of retreat, we were not allowed to have our phones, which was rewarding in itself, but also effectively isolated us. Although I knew the situation with the coronavirus was getting worse worldwide, I did not understand the extent of the problem.
On my bus ride home, I began to realize the reality of the situation. I already knew that school would be canceled for at least two weeks, but as we drove into town, the parking lots of Kroger and Aldi were packed with cars. We learned all sports games and practices were to be canceled indefinitely, and the school musical would be postponed. Most shocking for me was that all Catholic Masses would be canceled.
For me and for many my age, measures such as canceling all sports and Masses are terrifying. Nothing similar has happened in our lifetimes, and we are unsure how to respond. It can be easy to shut out the world and dwell on our own issues.
If I learned anything on senior retreat, however, it is that everyone faces difficulties in their lives, even if they are not apparent. We need to remember that fact when we decide how to treat others.
We should always strive to be more understanding, and especially in times of uncertainty such as these. The isolation that will ensue from the closing of many public places and schools will be extremely difficult for some people. If you have a friend whom you think will be affected by lack of social contact, make sure to call them and brighten their day.
Do everything you can to stop the spread of the disease (wash your hands, don’t touch your face, etc.) so that someone does not lose a loved one with an underlying health condition.
Finally, check in with family and friends to see if they need anything. I know that child care would have been a daunting problem for my family when I was younger, so see if your family and friends need anything and do your best to help them.
For me and for many around me, it seems as if the world is turning inside-out. But by supporting each other and proactively providing for the needs of others, we will get through this disease much easier. Remember to always think of others and to do everything you can to stay healthy; I hope that everyone retains their hope and peace in the midst of this crisis.
KATHRYN SIENA is a senior at Marquette Academy. She can be contacted via Assistant Editor Julie Barichello at email@example.com.