Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math Studies
As the new school year approaches, here is an update on our current plans for our upcoming events. Our number one priority continues to be the health and safety of our children, their families and our team members at the center of all our decisions. All STEMS4Girls re-opening decisions are based on data from the Center for Disease Control and the Florida Department of Health.
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How C0VID-19 Has Affected My Life
July 30, 2020
I won’t lie to you, the first time somebody told me that we were experiencing a global pandemic- I wasn’t afraid. I didn’t immediately put on my mask and start panic-buying toilet paper. I wasn’t scared for my own life or the lives of my loved ones, and I certainly wasn’t thinking about all the people who wouldn’t make it to see the other side of quarantine. In fact, while I’m not exactly proud of my ignorance- I was excited. “A longer spring break? Sounds good to me” I said as I threw all my bathing suits in a suitcase and hopped on the interstate. I figured I could get out of Tallahassee for a little while and drive home to party on the beach and in the bars with my friends. I thought I would be back at school in a month. I thought I had enough money saved to support myself and have a little fun on the side. I thought this was just a glorified swine flu, and that everything would go back to normal in a couple weeks.
My smile and positive attitude faded rather quickly as the tone around the word pandemic shifted. Suddenly, lives were being lost. Jobs and livelihoods people had worked so hard to build were destroyed in a matter of weeks. Everything got cancelled. Concerts and festivals I wanted to go to, spring break trips down the coast, cruises, parties- all of it gone in an instant. The reality of coronavirus began to set in way quicker than I could have ever imagined. A stay at home order was issued, bars and restaurants shut down, and toilet paper seemed to become a form of valuable currency in itself.
I know a lot of introverts who took this time away from the world to work on themselves. There are people out there who thrive in solitude and produce some of their best work when given the time and space they need to become introspective and develop the parts of themselves which emerge in stillness. I, unfortunately- am not one of these people. I am a true extrovert who thrives off interaction with other people whether it be friends, families, or strangers at the supermarket. I work at a bar and I spend about 90% of my day in a public place surrounded by crowds of humans. My daily routine consists of waking up, going to the gym, going to class, then going to work. Considering the pandemic closed down the gyms, the schools, and the bars- I felt as though I had nothing left. I spent most of my time trying to exercise outside. I would jump rope for hours a day, or go on aimless walks around the neighborhood with no real destination. Sure, I coped alright- but the consequences of this disease did take a serious toll on my mental health. It’s funny how when we are busy, all we want is a break, yet when we sit idle for too long, we crave obligation. Coronavirus stole my ability to work, socialize, and to invest in others in the meaningful and personable face to face way I am used to.
Sure coronavirus interrupted my routine and made me feel lonely and sad- but I was one of the lucky ones. Over 150,000 people in the United States alone have lost their lives in the midst of this pandemic. While I am grateful to not have personal connection with anyone who died directly from the virus, I know plenty of people who have caught it and suffered for days. In addition to the toll C0VID took and is taking on people’s physical health, the economic health of the world has taken a huge blow as well. Approximately 55% of small businesses were forced to close their doors for good. A lot of my favorite mom and pop retailers or hole in the wall restaurants now have “for lease” signs in their window, and it hurts me to know that so many people have had their career and future ripped away from them over something that they had no way to foresee or control.
The coronavirus has changed how we live. People have had to make a complete 180 in the way that they work, play and learn. While the impact of this pandemic on the country has been devastating, I believe that the most beneficial thing we can do is take this entire encounter as a learning experience. In the future, we need to take dangerous outbreaks more seriously early on. We need to ensure that people have the resources they need to survive and access to accurate information to properly educate themselves. Although this is a time full of unknowns, it is comforting to know that thousands of people all over the world are going through the same thing. Collective coping strategies have emerged as people make videos, memes, stories, essays and poems about the wildly unpredictable times that we are living in. Chaos has become part of the universal culture, and it is ironic that the social isolation has been globally unifying. Hopefully people continue to wear masks, wash hands, and take this virus seriously so that we can come out on the other side of this pandemic feeling more connected to each other than ever before.
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