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  • Writer's pictureSiow Lee Xian

Safe Distancing ≠ Social Distancing

By now, everyone has probably heard of the new measures the government has taken to curb the spread of COVID-19. If you haven’t here’s the basic rundown that will be in place during this circuit breaker from 7 April to 4 May:

  • Full home-based learning for schools

  • Closure of physical workplace premises except essential services

  • Closure of recreational venues, attractions, and places of worship

  • Limit social contact to immediate family members

  • Wear a reusable mask (distributed at CCs and RCs from 5 to 12 April) if you need to leave your house

  • Be socially responsible

The CNM department has also given a few updates regarding the situation. For those who may have missed the email, here are the important points:

  • No student should be on campus from Tuesday (7 April) onward

  • Borrowing of equipment is suspended

  • If you have borrowed equipment, you can return it after the circuit breaker is over

  • NM2220 students: do not go to school on Thursday to collect your assignments - await further instruction

  • NM3217, NM3230, NM4208, NM4231 students: the university is working on getting temporary Adobe licenses for everyone to work from home. In the meantime, please download the trial version.

In such a volatile situation, it is easy to feel panicked, trapped, and fearful. Everyday, we are bombarded with news updates on what the government is doing, what the university is doing, how the patients are doing… Coupled with the stress we’re facing from our assignments, one can certainly feel very overwhelmed.

Hence, here are some things we hope everyone will keep in mind in this situation, to help everyone find some sanity amidst the chaos.

1. It’s okay

Yes, it’s okay. It’s okay to be fearful, anxious, and restless in these times. Your emotions are valid and you shouldn’t berate yourself for feeling this way. Whether you’re feeling this way because of the virus, because of your assignments, or even because of the future that seems so uncertain post-graduation.

It is okay.

It’s okay that you’re feeling this way, but try to understand why you’re feeling so. Take this time at home to think about how you and everyone around you has been handling the situation thus far. What is the underlying reason for feeling this way? Is there anything you can do to make things better? More often than not, you will be able to find the answers to your questions, or the calm to your storm when you take the time to reflect and think.

Whatever it is, don’t push your emotions aside. Accept and understand them. It may not help you feel less fearful or stressed, but it changes how you see what’s going on around you.

2. Physically distant, not emotionally distant

Similar to the point above, this whole stay at home and safe distancing saga can have strong impacts on many groups of people. While many are taking this chance to “find themselves” in solitude, please don’t forget the people around you.

In this day and age, we are blessed with great advancements in technology. Zoom, Skype, Whatsapp, Telegram, even social media like Instagram and YouTube. Use all this to connect with the people around you. Perhaps it’s finally the time to show your parents the benefits of all that handphone usage they spent years nagging you about. A simple video call, or a text to ask about their day or how they are in this situation, could really turn someone’s day around.

Especially for your friends who you know are extroverts. While introverts may be celebrating the time they have to themselves, extroverts may be rattling the gates and screeching to be let out.

Just like how introverts can feel physically unwell after spending too much time with people, extroverts can also start to feel bored and alone when they lack stimulation. Hence, if you know any extroverts, make use of all technology has given you and spend some time connecting with them!

3. Be thankful

This may sound a little harsh, but a friend once told me:

The people in first-world countries complaining about their travel plans getting cancelled because of COVID-19 are like the rich family in Parasite. As they were complaining about the rain cancelling their camping plans others were literally having their lives flooded out. 

Yes, it sucks. It sucks that your plans to travel Europe after graduation are probably bust. It sucks that the exchange you worked so hard for got cancelled, or the concert you were looking forward to has now been postponed. But ultimately, rather than looking at what we have lost, look at what we still have.

We’re still healthy, our families are still safe. We still have access to education (albeit virtual), and we still have all our basic necessities without having to hoard it all (yes, I’m glaring at you panic-buyers).

Above all, be thankful that even though things are changing so rapidly, and we seem to be losing our footing in the wave of current events, we are okay. As a country, as a community, we are all playing our part in the little ways we can and we will come out of this stronger and better. Chin up, everyone! We’ll get through this together! Be so thankful for what you have that you won’t even be able to see what you don’t.

To keep up to date with the newest updates, do check out these few channels:

Stay safe, and stay healthy everyone!

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