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My friends with Covid masks and a Dartmouth class of 2027 sign

In this blog post, I'd like to delve into the impacts of COVID-19 on our society and the invaluable lessons it has taught us. Many of my insights have been shaped by my experiences in James A. Godley's "Writing at the Edge of Democracy" class.

Discussing COVID-19 is challenging because it has affected individuals in diverse ways. While I don't claim expertise in relevant fields, I believe it is essential to have an open conversation about it. The pandemic has offered a wealth of knowledge, revealing how our world functions and what steps we should take to prepare for future crises. Perhaps the most significant lesson COVID-19 has imparted is the importance of social responsibility, a quality that has often been lacking on a global scale.

I have pretty much repressed my memory of COVID-19, mainly because in 2021, my dad contracted COVID-19, and he got so sick that he had to be hospitalized. The whole family was unsure of his condition because of how overwhelmed the health system was. We had to rely on information from my grandmother's friends working in the hospital to know how is he doing. The chilling reality is that he became very close to becoming just another statistic among the 6,960,783 people who lost their lives to COVID-19 as of November 8, 2023.*

Fast forward two years to my student orientation at Dartmouth College, where I tested positive for COVID-19. Fortunately, I had received triple vaccinations, so my physical health was not the primary concern. However, the social and emotional impact was profound. While my fellow students excitedly explored the campus, I found myself confined to my room, grappling with isolation. Even routine tasks like visiting the dining hall while wearing a mask served as stark reminders of the challenging times we were enduring.

In the aftermath of my recovery, I encountered individuals who half-jokingly expressed their reluctance to get tested for COVID-19, fearing they might miss out on this or that. This outright irresponsible behavior is a symptom of a deeper issue that afflicts many of today's global challenges: the lack of social responsibility. It is arguable that our world, particularly in Western societies, has grown increasingly self-centered. Refusing to get tested is more than a mere act of defiance; it highlights our inclination to prioritize personal comfort over the well-being of others. This issue extends beyond COVID-19, permeating global challenges such as the Climate Crisis. Every time we release greenhouse gas emissions, we implicitly signal that our immediate well-being holds more value than the health of the planet we call home and billions of others who may be more affected than us.

While I may be deemed an idealist, I envision a world where people genuinely care about individuals beyond their immediate family, a world where people consider the broader social impacts of their lives. It bewilders me that we often spend our lives engaged in conflicts with one another rather than uniting against external threats. It seems that we have collectively lost certain values; for example, some in the Western world have lost sight of the fact that we are all interconnected, and no measure of individual success can alter that reality. People all around the world appear to have lost their appreciation for sustainability, failing to recognize that, in the grand scheme, the wealth we accumulate and the pleasures we experience today will dim in significance in comparison to the opportunities future generations will inherit.

This very eloquent rant of mine is a bit of a taste of what you can expect to cover in your Writing 5 class. By the way, "Writing 5" is one of the distributive requirements for first years at Dartmouth; the main focus of these themed courses is on improving essay writing and rhetoric. Theme-wise, there are many flavors to choose from, including the "Writing at the Edge of Democracy." 


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