Writes Maeve McTaggart
Déja vú, right? Sitting down to write this issue, I was caught first by a big, frustrated sigh (try it – long inhale, longer exhale – it helps). It’s almost a year since the beginning of the pandemic, since March 12th where I welcomed what I assumed was a two-week break to catch up with impending deadlines. Two weeks later, I re-evaluated. Two months later, I did so again… and again… and again. The expectation that the COVID-19 ‘situation’ would continue until December was, last March, reserved solely for the doomsday sayers of Twitter and drive-time radio.
I don’t think it has gotten any easier to distinguish the pessimists from the realists, the pragmatic pathologists from the pathological politicians. I pretend not to hear the list of months lost to lockdowns swallow up the summer and as much as I possibly can, avoid the fact I spent half of the time I had at UCC in my bedroom (let’s do another sigh).
This issue of news was, admittedly, hard to write. There is only so much to report on the state of affairs on campus when it is stretched between screens and Teams meetings. The virtual space – however much it has you falling victim to ads on blue-light glasses or ergonomic desk chairs – is harder however, to not write about. Ignoring the nightmarish screen-time notifications, it’s interesting how much has adapted, changed and collapsed as college went digital.
The last year has made me someone who wraps myself in silver-linings, and this news section has much of its headlines glistening. Looking at Bystander Intervention Week, student publications and online expos, opportunities to speak with change-makers like Ambassador Power despite a time difference and 3,000 miles between – this month is a survey of the ways we have adapted to COVID-19 and fashioned silver-linings out of new technologies and the strength of a campus community.
I am working on my realism, but also working on recognising that optimism can be just as realistic as pessimism – there’s no need to drop the silver linings, sometimes they are the only things keeping us on the ground.