In the final days of this semester, I can’t help but look back at how things have changed in how we proceeded. With COVID-19, everyone, not just students, had to adapt to how the world had changed. For many of us, this included going home from campus, learning online and working from home. Now, as the semester draws to a close, we all have to adapt once more; we have to adapt to facing the uncertainty of the time we all live in without the order and structure given to us by our classes, keeping us aware of what day it is through assignments and classes.
With this change fast approaching, I find myself more certain of things than I had expected. This is weird to me because of how much we do not know. We do not know when stay at home will effectively end in New York. We do not know when businesses will be up and running again. We do not know if we will be returning to campus in the fall. Truly, we are in the most uncertain times of our lives, so how come I feel certain? I feel certain because I know that we can and will adapt. After all, if this semester, and this class, has taught me anything, it is that we are more than capable of adapting to whatever challenge comes our way.
While staying at home, working with Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, we spent a lot of time looking at and commenting on the many revisions that he had made to Walden over the years. It just goes to show how things could change for him back then. My project group had worked with the “Higher Laws” chapter, specifically paragraphs one and seven. I bring this up because in the first draft of paragraph seven, Thoreau had a line that didn’t survive past that first version. That line was “But practically I am only half-converted by my own arguments as I still fish.” I bring this line up because it illustrates how Thoreau had adapted to his time in the woods. He adapted, meaning that line was no longer unnecessary as the more time he spent in the woods, he adapted to a new form of life that brushed away his doubts. It is that change that I am particularly enamored with. Thoreau was able to live in seclusion and adapt to it, not unlike what we have been doing now. The biggest differences being that our seclusion is not by choice and the fear over our well-being, even still we are secluded and we adapted to this once before.
Moving into this next phase of quarantine, with less responsibilities with classes and assignments being done, it is much like my initial thoughts on using the command line; harder and more confusing than I am used to. But, as with the command line, I feel as though we all can learn to navigate this new situation in time. Times are hard and they are only set to get harder, but we have already adapted to so much, so what’s a bit more adapting to finish getting through this? I may be retrospective right now in the face of another shift, but because of how we have already had to adapt once to this, and with how this class has enforced adaptation, I’m confident in how we will all be able to move forward undaunted and I look forward to going back to campus with this as just another experience to be learned from. Maybe it’s time for us to write our own Walden based on quarantine showing our change in this time and how we adapt to it?