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We are less than a month away from Election Day, Nov. 3, and it is nearly impossible to avoid that fact wherever you go. Whether it's overhearing highlights from the presidential and vice presidential debates, having to deal with your family's off-handed political opinions or even stumbling upon Kanye West's "presidential" tweets on social media, there's no getting around it. This year's election cycle seems to be one of the most contentious yet, and it seems unlikely that the chaos will calm down in the ensuing weeks, much to the entire nation's dismay.
After weeks upon weeks of social distancing, staying indoors and taking necessary safety precautions, I think every person alive has come to the same, nagging question — what am I supposed to do now?
I suppose I should start with what everyone has been thinking these past few months — 2020 has been crazy, to put it mildly. Between the ongoing pandemic, incompetent federal government responses and protests over the continued presence of police brutality and racial inequity in this country, this year is one of few that I truly believe will be unforgettable. Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in particular, a notable consequence of its nature — one that I'm sure we are all well aware of — was the shift to online classes for the latter half of the spring semester at the University. For me, reading President Jim Ryan's email detailing changes to the semester was the moment that made it all real. It was the definitive event that forced me to come to terms with the fact that this virus was here to stay.
It is an understatement to say that COVID-19 — more commonly known by the the family of viruses the disease belongs to, coronavirus — has been a prominent force in the global public consciousness over these past few weeks. In December 2019, a mere handful of cases with pneumonia-like symptoms arose in Wuhan, the capital of the Hubei province and one of China’s largest cities. However, today, the country estimates that there are 74,000 total infections and over 2,000 deaths, making the disease more infectious and deadly than the SARS epidemic — the most recent worldwide outbreak, which also originated in China and infected 8,000 people.
We’ve all been there. It’s a Wednesday night, you have 300 pages of readings due the next day, and you’re already stressing over an assortment of deadlines scattered over the next month or two. You’ve yawned at least seven times in the past five minutes and have had to reread the same paragraph 10 times over. Clearly, nothing is going to get done tonight.
It took me about two months to come to the abrupt realization that I — during what was supposed to be the most liberating time of my life — wasn’t exactly happy at the University.
Dear fellow undecided major,
I am reluctant to admit that I have spent the vast majority of my free time not thinking about life back in my hometown of Springfield, Va. There is honestly way too much to do at the University — almost as if every day has been designed to keep newcomers as busy as possible. As a first-year still learning the ropes in this unfamiliar environment, I have sat through interest meeting after interest meeting, determined the best time to visit the dining halls for my fifth snack of the day — curse you, unlimited meal plan! — and aimlessly wandered around Grounds like an eager tourist checking off the next item on my University bucket list.
I’ll begin by admitting that I started the writing process for the column you are reading right now with immeasurably high expectations for myself. As a new addition to The Cavalier Daily staff — burdened with the knowledge that anything I wrote would be made public for complete strangers to read — I felt an immense pressure to write the best column ever weighing down on my shoulders. My first piece had to be great — no, it had to be perfect. The Mona Lisa of columns, if you will.