Closure—On the Era and Our Education


Roselind Zeng, Staff Writer

What a grinding halt. To put it in perspective, the last time any of us felt a sense of “normal” was Friday the 13th. The Ides of March really did us a number.

Everyone, especially high school and college seniors, was excited at what this year signified. A new era of our lives. 2020—we were the class with vision; we proclaimed ourselves the most progressive and experimental class. We would finally be set loose, to make our mark on the world, to thrive. 

Who knew something like coronavirus would make its move first, mark us with hardship and uncertainty just when we were about to pen our new chapter.

In hindsight, we should’ve known. With the arrival of 1620, the New World was ravaged by European diseases, decimating native populations. 1720, the Great Plague of Marseille took the lives of 100,000 people. Then 1820, a string of cholera pandemics, coursing throughout Asia, to the Middle East, arriving in east Europe. Finally 1920. You’d think Lady Luck would have stepped in, maybe ended this string of the Terrible Twenties. Nah, it was Spanish Flu this time. The U.S. was in a similar predicament as it’s in today. In total, the flu’s death toll was estimated to be double that of WWI. 

We should’ve known. 

I, and countless other Americans, want to realize the promise this land offers us. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But one by one, a nearly undetectable enemy has ripped each of those from us. Closure? What closure? How can we come to terms with finality when family members risk falling ill? When savings seep into the bottomless pit of expenses? When literal closures shut down what we held sacred, our everyday rituals? 

In the wider scope of things, there is no normal anymore. “Back to normal” is not an option. As Bill Gates put it in his prophetic TED Talk five years back,” We’ve… invested very little in a system that stops epidemics. We are not ready for the next epidemic.” We have to remember that this might not be the last major outbreak we’ll see in our lives. Social distancing will be on the tips of tongues for months, maybe years to come. Reminiscing about what 2020 could have been will be a cornerstone of conversation for decades. Mother Nature is always one step ahead. But scientific progress is gradual, and so is closure. Coronavirus is a call to action, a magnifying glass to society’s critical weaknesses, yet also to humanity’s endless resilience and adaptability. 

Closure… it’s a personal journey. And isolation is the perfect time to find it. 

Though it may be painful not to see your work come to fruition, you’ve done well, and your work has been rewarded by this long rest. And though our academic and personal achievements are now unremarkable in light of a national emergency, we have not been forgotten. We should be proud of ourselves despite our circumstances, be grateful for our safety and indebted to those that sacrifice theirs for our sake. We are still the same old us, doing our best, and we will move on, past our regrets, past our failures, and past this pandemic. 

We have to redefine closure and normal. We need to come to terms that we are in a forced limbo. We are suspended in midair, but that doesn’t mean that everything has come to an end. We will carry on, slowly, surely—not anytime soon, but we will. We shall grieve the past, but we must also march forward—toward prevention and safeguards, toward the day where a crisis of this scale won’t catch us off guard again.


Graphic Courtesy of REDBUBBLE.COM