My grandmother celebrated her 79th birthday alone with her front door slightly cracked open to see her birthday cake, lit with candles she’d blow from a distance.

Life as we know it has drastically changed before our eyes. We are now living in a major historic event known as the coronavirus pandemic. 

As a full-time student, a mother of a three year-old, and a part-time worker trying to achieve my first-generation college ambitions and make a name for myself, I always remember these simple words during times of desperation or uncertainty: “Hang in there a little longer.” 

My son

My three year-old son, Darrell, enjoying breakfast. (Signal Photo/Aliyah Stoeckl)

It was a surreal moment when I had to explain to my toddler that the reason we can't go to the park was because of the "germs monster."

"The germs at the park will get you." This is an everyday conversation. 

It only came to this when he finally stopped believing me when I told him that it was too cold outside.

As I'm trying to occupy my son’s mind with activities, school work has become less of a priority. Days are longer than ever and a sleep schedule no longer exists.

I drive to three different stores to find the necessary essentials for my child. If I find one store that has everything I need, it's a miracle. Everyone is hoarding while the rest of us are left with nothing. 

People around us are dying.

According to the Public Health Services of San Joaquin County, the number of people in my county has drastically risen to 141 infected and seven deaths as of Tuesday, March 31. 

You might be thinking, “Stay inside. Do homework,” but let’s face it, it’s not that easy, mentally.

My Communication Studies professor, Dr. Meikuan Huang, started my class email regarding adjusting to the outbreak with, “If you think you’re struggling, you are not at all alone.” She ends every single email with the message, “Stay healthy and safe.”

This is what the academic world has come to. No one knows what the next step is, all we know is to wait and try to be safe. 

The numbers of individuals losing their jobs to this crisis are soaring in the millions.

Unfortunately, I am one of those numbers. 

My job has closed it's doors to it's employees. I’m now a part of history, as I file for unemployment in response to this epidemic. We are all scrambling, but like Dr. Huang tells us, we are not alone.

In what may seem like a never ending turn of events in the year of 2020, many of us have forgotten what kindness has looked like. People have forgotten what it felt like to have a break from work. I have never in my life seen so many people walking, jogging, and riding bikes on a Saturday morning (all within a reasonable distance, of course).

I came to realize that we’ve all been given a chance to stay inside, silence the noise, and enjoy the company of our loved ones during this new pandemic-effected world. Every morning I wake up with the chance to enjoy time with my little one. 

The coronavirus has taught us that anything can happen to instantly change the way we live. For that reason, I believe that we should stop living as if we've given two lives.

We need to take care of, not only ourselves, but those around us. We also need to remember kindness as we move forward. One kind thing that we can do is to continue to stay home so that those around us can remain healthy and safe and to, ultimately, just keep hanging in there until this problem is solved and life is back to normal.

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