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PERSPECTIVE: Iqbal on the Coronavirus Pandemic
Anika Iqbal

Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, members of the Baylor community, and communities everywhere, find themselves fragmented and sealed in their homes. We had to and temporarily say goodbye to the school. As tdisperse on Friday, March 13, when Baylor students were given the day to confront the situation he CDC continues to release information about the virus, our chances of returning to campus before the fall look slim. For seniors and retiring faculty/staff members, this means that we already had our last classes, last games, and last goodbyes without even knowing it.

In recent months, many seniors, including myself, have been expressing the desire to leave Baylor—to “get out” or “escape.” Now that the school year has ended prematurely, we find that we should have been expressing our excitement to graduate, to go out into the world and begin new chapters of our lives, not necessarily to depart from our school or the things that it represents to us. It’s healthy for us to not cling to Baylor’s gates desperately or dismiss all of the new experiences that await us, but now that we mourn the time we lost, we realize the depth of our appreciation.

We miss our classes and our teachers sincerely. We mourn lost days of free dress, spring breezes carrying laughter from four-square across the quad, elated senior speeches followed by standing ovations and shouts of support. We lament the voices and the music we anticipated to dance to at RAGTAILS. We grieve for the loss of our final prom, of moments of discomfort and wonder on the senior trip, of tight hugs and tearful smiles on the day of our graduation; but we do grieve—which is, in a way, somewhat lovely! We cherish what we were given. We cherish the chapel, the quad, the dining hall. We always have. And while it may have taken a global pandemic for us to realize the value of our appreciation, we have so enjoyed the time we had at Baylor, and no amount of words will ever express how grateful we are.

It may be difficult to cultivate our grief into gratitude, but when we step back and realize that COVID-19 currently impacts every human being on Earth, it becomes clear that we must soon cast off our disappointment to endear to our unity. Although students and teachers alike were stripped of the school year, Baylor equipped us with the tools we need to understand the world and subsequently better it. We’ve learned to do what we can to help our neighbors, to care for one another, to remain open-minded.

So, while we channel gratitude into our memories of the past, we must carry hope into our expectations for the future. Whether we convene for graduation or not, our takeaways remain the same. We seniors would say thank-you to you, our classmates, teachers, and friends, to express our immense appreciation for you. And, as a community, we can only do what we can to stay healthy, support one another, and foster each other’s positivity in these trying times. We’re living through something monumentally historical right now, and the story’s ending depends on our kindness, our hopefulness, and our rationality. I hope I can speak for all of the seniors when I say that we wish you the best.

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