Everywhere around the world, this is a very stressful time. Even if one doesn’t have the COVID-19 virus or know someone with it, they are affected in some way. Specifically for me, as a college student at Allegheny College, we were told like many others that the rest of the semester is being done online.
Now, I am not one to complain about being home for a long period of time, especially as a dairy farmer, but it does mess up a lot of college happenings. So no, I’m not a huge fan of what has had to happen, but nobody is. It would be very weird if they were.
The way I see it, the shutting down of universities and colleges, and now high schools in some areas too, is similar to the events of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In the book, kids at Hogwarts are being petrified by a Basilisk. Specifically, those with non-magical parents are the ones being petrified, but the professors were still going to close the school to keep all of the students safe.
Safety is what is most important at this time. So when I hear people complaining about certain parts of this situation like malls being closed or not being able to hang out with friends, I have to resist the urge to yell at them. The only way that this virus is going to go away is through people being smart. I think when we look back on this years later we will be happy that in some ways we overreacted, and not underreacted — though I still don’t understand the whole toilet paper shortage thing.
As a dairy farmer in a small town, it is pretty easy for me to socially distance myself. In fact, as someone with a compromised immune system, I’m much more likely to get the virus out at college than I am being home. And while I’m not too worried about myself getting it, I am very worried about members of my family getting it, especially since if they were exposed, it would have probably come from me if I had gone back to college. As it is, things are a mess now and everyone is still trying to figure things out, but at least I know that I have a lot less of a risk of giving it to people I love.
Now being in the barn is one of the only places over the last few days where I’ve had a break from hearing about the virus. Not that everything in the barn is easy ever, and each day I feel leaves me more tired than the last, but I would not change what I do for anything in the world.
These last few weeks have felt like three months. But in this extremely stressful time for so many people, I have been trying to remind myself of the good things going on, not just the bad. Specific examples of that being our new batch of ducks that we got two weekends ago, and that my cow Jasmine had another beautiful girl calf last week. While everything else is still a mess, I find focusing on things like this, along with really anything to do with my animals has helped me a lot.
I highly recommend finding at least two things each day to remind yourself to be happy during this time. It can even be something small, like the fact that spring has officially started and the weather is slowly getting warmer. Things like this serve as a reminder that while things are a mess, everything will be figured out in time. As Samwise Gamgee says in The Lord of the Rings, “There’s some good left in this world. … And it’s worth fighting for.”
During stressful times, try to look on the bright side. I think you’ll find that things will start to look better when you do.