The Charger Blog

'I Hope that We, as a Society, Learn from this Experience and that it Changes Us for the Better'

As I adjusted to learning remotely and social distancing amid the global coronavirus pandemic, I reflected on the impact the pandemic is having on people around the world, as well as on what I have learned about myself.

May 12, 2020

By Rutchlor Louis '22

Image of Rutchlor Louis ’22.
Sophomore Rutchlor Louis's message for healthcare workers responding to the coronavirus crisis.

When President Kaplan first notified the student body that classes would be temporarily suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, I thought I was going home for just two weeks for an early spring break. I excitedly contemplated making plans. Maybe I’d go visit my cousin in Florida. Maybe I’d get the boys together on the field for some practice. Or maybe I’d finally get a chance to watch the new Bad Boys movie. Little did I know that those impending two weeks at home would turn into a whole semester of social distancing.

What was happening worldwide finally hit me. To combat the storm that is the novel coronavirus, people were advised to self-quarantine. It has, to say the least, been one heck of an experience.

Greeting people is different. Being Haitian, I was raised to shake the hands of men who are my senior to properly greet them and to kiss women on their cheek. It was funny to see my dad give me an elbow bump followed by a head nod. Despite the laughs, paranoia hit me because every single headache, cough, or sneeze has my mind racing and the people around me looking at me with alarm.

I am still trying to figure out my sleep schedule. It is hard to stay up after online classes are over. I’m not anxious, but after my online classes are over, I’m just not in the mood to do anything else. I have realized that I miss being at the University of New Haven and being in class physically. I even miss waking up early and dragging myself out of bed for track practice.

"There are going to be some major changes when life resumes after the quarantine is over. I don't want those changes to dehumanize us."Rutchlor Louis '22

The crazy thing about all of this is you learn that you don't know what you've taken for granted until it is taken away. I had an entire track season to look forward to in the spring and COVID-19 took it all away just like that. I’ve done a lot thinking about the effects of this virus, and what I have come up with is loss. Because of this pandemic, people all over the world are losing things ranging from jobs, trust, and, most importantly, their lives. This is very scary to think about.

Quarantine hasn't been all bad. At least I get to spend a lot of time with my family. But as time has passed, this feeling of annoyance continues to grow, and it is becoming more prevalent within all of us. It is not that we are tired of spending time with each other, but, just like the rest of the world, we want our lives to return to how they were before this pandemic started.

I hope that we, as a society, learn from this experience and that it changes us for the better. At this point, it is obvious that there are going to be some major changes when life resumes after the quarantine is over. I don't want those changes to dehumanize us. Social interaction is a part of what makes us human, and I hope too much of that doesn't get taken away as a result of this virus.

Rutchlor Louis '22 is an exercise science major in the University of New Haven's School of Health Sciences. A member of the Chargers track & field and football teams, he is from Spring Valley, New York. This piece is part of the “Caught in the Pandemic” project in collaboration with the Principles of Communication course taught by Health Administration and Policy professor Alvin Tran, ScD, MPH.

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