My Life in the COVID-19 Era: Still Better Than Most
I’ve lost jobs, and am still better off than so many others.
A few months ago, my husband and I sat down at dinner, reading to watch something on Netflix (a nightly tradition). We ended up picking a documentary episode called “Pandemic”, where we learned that because of the world we live in now, disease could be spread so quickly, we wouldn’t have time to prepare. I thought it was all extremely interesting, but like so many others, I thought “not me… Something like that won’t happen in my lifetime.”
It was only a few months later when COVID-19 was discovered and began to rapidly spread around China and the surrounding countries. I’m sure there was a moment when I thought to myself “is this it?” before that thought was pushed away. It seemed to stay in the back of my mind, but life went on. Even once cases began to show in Oregon, I still wasn’t too worried. I felt safe in the world. I figured this couldn’t get too out of hand.
My dad called me one day, before the announcement of remote classes for spring term, to ask me how I felt about the virus and my own safety. He was calling from the western side of Oregon and was worried about the confirmed case in Pendleton. I told him it was a weird feeling. Of course, I felt a sense of dread. I had heard what was happening in Washington, but life was going on as usual. I was still going to my four jobs, my husband was still going to his, and I was finishing up finals, which were distracting me enough as it was.
As far as I knew, my spring break was to be spent working. My parents had cautioned me to stock up on supplies, just in case, and I made a goal with myself to work as much as possible over the break so that if something did happen, I wouldn’t be financially unstable. I spent the weekend before Spring Break getting prepared for that work week and taking a breather after finishing a hard term. My weekend job, at the movie theater, was closing. It didn’t worry me too much since I was only working there 4 hours a week, and I had three other jobs in my back pocket.
Monday morning rolled around, and I got an email, letting me know my job that was offering me the most pay and the most hours, could no longer keep me since they were an “unessential office” and the governor had asked them, and so many other businesses, to close. This is when I began to worry. This was the job that seemed the most secure to me, the one I felt like I could worry the least about… and yet I was being let go. A few days later, because of campus closures, my other on campus job asked me to work from home. My hours were being cut. Still, I am so much better off than so many people. I still am able to make ends meet with my two part time jobs, as well as my husband’s income from his job as an essential employee at Safeway. Luckily, I can work from home and have the necessary resources to take care of my schoolwork. This is a scary time for everyone. I know I’ve felt a level of anxiety with the unknown, but I combat this with the normality of school work and being around my husband and