Not Going to Lie, I’m Afraid

By Matthew
Student, South Mountain Community College & Phoenix College

The first time I heard of the outbreak of Covid19 was when an ASU student was confirmed to test positive. I was so misinformed of the situation and how serious it was until I educated myself on the subject. I didn’t realize how severely the situation was until I read articles on how China was getting affected.

My classmates immediately made fun of the situation, not acknowledging how serious the virus was. Those who were aware of the crisis felt protective because “only old people get sick, and we have a strong immune system.” Because of their arrogance they just made fun of the situation making memes or started to discriminate and stereotype against Asian people. My 17-year-old cousin did that in front of me. We went to play basketball before Arizona was declared to be in an emergency. He started making fun of a Asian kid, telling him to stay away because he didn’t want to get infected; the other kids saw it as amusement, however I called my cousin out on his action.

The situation of Covid 19 escalated when our college decided to extend spring break. Many of my classmates were upset because they have kids who are attending public school and found it wrong how they would stay at home while their kids were obligated to attend. My mother was happy I was staying home. I love the fact that I might be 20, almost turning into an adult , but my mom feels the need to be over-protective. Her maternal instinct kicked in, and she decided that we should go to the grocery story to get supplies, just in case.

Once we got to Costco, it was a complete chaos!!! People were running around the store fighting over everything and everyone’s purchases were limited. The employees were getting frustrated and called security on one customer. I have never seen anything so bad, and I thought Black Friday was crazy in 2010!

In the store, I saw a elderly man begging for help, but everyone seemed to ignore him. I approached him and ask if I could assist him. The joy of his face was beautiful and humbling. He told me how rude everyone was and how he has a broken arm. He introduced himself and was very nice. His name was Forrest, and he just wanted help with picking up dog food for the young pugs he’d recently rescued.

When I got the news how schools were going to be extended further, I was worried. I was already challenged with one online class and now I have to take Organic Chemistry and Physics online. This is my last semester at Phoenix College until I transfer to ASU. I am worried about maintaining my GPA. I have to have a certain GPA to get accepted to the biochemistry program. I was struck with stress. How was I going to manage my time?

Later that day I got a call from work saying they wouldn’t need me any more… I work as a caregiver part-time and I depend on that job to pay my debt I have at Phoenix College .

I honestly started to have a mental breakdown.

How will I pay for my classes? Would I graduate on time? I started to doubt myself and question my life. I easily let this situation get out of hand and didn’t look at my options. I lost control over my emotions and gained 30 pounds. I was at risk of being diabetic a few months ago and now I am scared that my health is okay. I also have sickle cells so I worry more about my immune system. Last night I had a panic attack and I felt horrible back pain.

My uncle who had a family of five had a stroke because he was stressed about the situation. He didn’t have enough food or money for his family. My mom offered him to stay with her, but my aunt is too prideful to accept help. It seems like everyone in my family is affected, but we are blessed because we are cautious of the situation. I reached out to my best friend who is at ASU. She’s isolated herself, missing her family and paranoid. I attempted to comfort her the best I could.

I guess most people have bigger problems than me and I should be more grateful.

Covid 19 didn’t just impact me and my family, it’s also hurting our community. I feel like our governor Doug Ducey isn’t doing the best job on tackling the problems to address what the community needs to do. Yes he might’ve put AZ on lockdown, but honestly it’s not enough. If a doctor petitioned to lockdown AZ, that’s a very bold statement. If our medical staff doesn’t feel safe to help, that could create problems.

Not going to lie, I am afraid. However, I do believe we will get through this.


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