By Nadia Beidas

     Lewis students will not return to in-person instruction this semester, or the summer semester. We will finish this semester very abruptly and without closure.

     This is a sad situation for all of us, especially for us graduating seniors. Many of us had so many plans over the next few weeks. All upcoming events are canceled and graduation is postponed.

      And unfortunately, some of us students will not see each other again.

     From a personal standpoint, I wanted a few more weeks to talk to classmates and faculty that have been a big part of my life for the last few years. I also wanted to thank all my instructors personally for their support and encouragement since my journey began, and I had all my goodbyes mentally planned. Additionally, I had several topics I wanted to write about for the department, but none of that feels appropriate right now.

     But all of this should not be our biggest concern or hardship at the moment, even if it is an unfortunate turn of events. We are dealing with a frightening global crisis with COVID-19. Our entire way of life has changed, and we are living in fear of an invisible enemy.

     Young people are also coming down with the virus in higher numbers. Some young adults are not following advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and are still meeting in large groups. This is not the time to ignore warnings as no one is invincible.

     Please be careful and safe everyone.

     I find the spread of COVID-19 terrifying. I keep thinking of my family, as I have several close relatives over 60 and others with preexisting conditions. I also keep checking on everyone.

     Although it is extremely difficult, it is very important not to fall into despair and bleakness. We must be hopeful. This crisis will pass.

     And we should show kindness and compassion to everyone. People everywhere are facing difficult times.

     As I mentioned last week, we need to keep up with our studies. Our knowledge will be needed during this crisis and after the crisis passes for a variety of situations, such as preventing or stopping cyber attacks, medical technology, education and communication.

     Please also show kindness and understanding to your instructors. They are also finding themselves on new ground, and they are working hard to make sure we can still receive the best education possible in this unusual and uncertain situation.

     We must look to the future. And we must be vigilant in taking care of ourselves and those around us, as well as check on loved ones while observing social distancing. Thankfully we have technology to enable us to communicate with each other.

     I would like to give a big thank you to all of our healthcare professionals who are fighting this virus daily, at the risk of their own health, to keep us all safe. We can all never thank you enough.

      Although we are constantly bombarded with coverage about this frightening virus, yet we need to look for positive contributions people are making, however big or small the contribution is.

     Mr. Rogers, host of the children’s program Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, said famously, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

     The series inspired generations of children, myself included, about the importance of kindness, compassion and being a good neighbor. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood had a long run from 1968 to 2001, and we can certainly use the words of wisdom and the lessons he taught us over generations.

     Currently, we see different moments of hope globally. During these difficult times, people in Italy stand on their balconies and sing together. In Spain, people go to their windows and applaud healthcare workers.

      Celebrities are also contributing to helping people stay positive. Josh Gad, whose famous roles include voicing Olaf from Frozen and playing LeFou in Beauty and the Beast, is reading children’s books online. Singers Keith Urban, John Legend, Coldplay and Pink live streamed concerts from home. 

      And CNN posted a video of a family standing outside the home of their relative, a 95-year-old woman whose birthday celebration was canceled, singing happy birthday to her.

     These are only a few of the stories of hope and kindness. It is important and essential to look for positive messages and uplifting stories amid the chaos. And we need to cling to hope.

      Be safe, be well and I wish you all the best. I hope to see as many of you as possible when it is safe for all of us to see each other again.

flyertech_admin Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences