Even with The Vedette staff scattered across the globe, the presses still roll. The team recently published a special online edition covering how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted students. The following article was written by staffer Mikel Alvis ’22 (Norman, Oklahoma).
By Mikel Alvis
From the day that Culver students step on campus, they are taught that, whatever they do, the most important parts are the people they are with and the experiences they share. Leadership teaches them how to trust others and lead them through actions. Adults in the Culver community help guide them through realizing who they are and how they want to help the world become a kinder place.
No longer being able to step out of the house, get in a car, and drive somewhere to meet other people has greatly changed the way society functions overall. In the words of Paloma Guerrero-Perez ’22, it has forced us all to take a step back, “think things through, and reestablish [our] priorities.”
It is as if the world has simultaneously acknowledged the need for more precautions while trying to live in a constant state of ignorance-is-bliss. Ethan Arnold ’23 said he has seen people “just walk around in public almost carefree. They don’t wear masks or do anything to protect themselves.” While many students acknowledged this same thing, Sophie Michi ’20 saw something a little bit different. She said that by the “very beginning of lockdown . . . a lot of people were wearing masks . . . probably a good 75 percent of people.”
The way people’s behavior can change so quickly has been astonishing, said Emily Heim ’22. “The days from March 13 and onward have been such a blur. Just the day before school was closed, I was having breakfast at Café Max with my family and just enjoying eating something other than the dining hall food. It seems like after March 13 the world fell apart right before our eyes.”
Heim and Michi are still in Culver. Michi says it is “almost worse to be near friends and not be able to see them. You’re so close but you’re still so far away.”
In Michigan, Guerrero-Perez finds that she feels “angry and frustrated” sometimes, but then realizes the importance in being “happy about the little things . . . hopeless and hopeful . . .” This experience is redefining how she interacts with her family and who she is as a person.
In Oklahoma, where I currently am, it is difficult for many to wrap their heads around the fact that the way to help the people we love is to stay away from them. We are a community that revolves around re-building people’s lives after tornadoes, and all of a sudden we face a problem that is out of our ability to directly solve. A community that used to pat strangers on the back in a grocery store now shrinks away from the runners on the street.
Michi summed up the state of the world in one phrase when describing her household now: there are “four generations in one house, and all of us have very different opinions on how things should be running.”
There are so many conflicting opinions on everything that is happening whether it be political, economic, or social. Interacting with people can be difficult when everything we do is now in some way tied to the possibility of contracting the virus, or a commendation of finding something that avoids it.
It can be very frustrating and difficult. At times it seems as if the end is uncontrollable. Realistically, it is not, and that is where the people come in. While the state of the world has changed entirely, this is what has been practiced at Culver since day one: unexpected situations, and how we can maintain contact with people throughout them.
So, while everyone is more spread out, and it may seem difficult to remain close to one another, this time can be used for reflection. There are always new things to try, and there is now more than enough time to call a friend and get to know each other better in a different way. The world has now realized that the time we had together was taken advantage of in the past. The resolution can now be to adapt and overcome this new situation, find a way to grow closer as a community, and re-center ourselves as individuals.