Doing My Part

Social distancing signs in the UCC on campusWritten by: Johann Cardenas, 3rd Year Bioinformatics

Photo by: M. Bettencourt, Student Experience

I’ve been looking forward to being back on campus ever since that Thursday in March when we were all suddenly sent home. It began as such a typical evening for me: I had just finished my Linear Algebra midterm and was spending the evening with my partner, only to receive an email that our in-person school year was ending that night. Ever since then, I have been looking forward to some semblance of normalcy, something that I seriously took for granted up until that point. I missed spontaneously running into friends on campus. I missed the energy of a great live, in-person lecture, and the almost-intimate yet awkward feeling of in-person tutorials. I missed doing hands-on science labs, even the forced small-talk you do with your lab partner who you kind of know. I miss studying and attending class all over Western’s campus, which is a much more interesting and varied environment than my desk at home. Something I did a lot in my first year was occasionally glance up from my laptop during my study sessions to just appreciate all of the student life around me, all of these ambitious people with hopes and dreams and desires and their own list of things they have to do that day. I liked getting lost in my imagination when thinking of what could be going on in these people’s lives. I didn’t know I’d miss that too.

A lot of these things are almost back to normal, but not quite. We’re on campus, almost in an identical way to normal years, except for a few regulations we have to follow, which honestly aren’t that bad. Wearing a mask, social distancing, completing Return to Campus questionnaires. Things are almost back to normal, but different. But I’m willing to live a little differently for a while in order for things to go completely back to normal again. We have a responsibility to the Western and greater London community to uphold public health recommendations. So many people have put in the work and made sacrifices to make our school year possible. So many of our communities have volunteered or worked on the frontlines to fight the spread of COVID-19 and support our communities during the pandemic. Even more have avoided large gatherings, gotten vaccinated, and have worn masks to keep others safe. To not follow the fairly minimal recommendations we have now is irresponsible, and disrespectful to all of the work that has been put in towards our return to normalcy.

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