Millions of Americans and others across the world have been forced to put their lives on hold and transition to unconventional methods for education and work due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. With orders to stay home unless for essential services, many have been working and learning from home during this crisis in effort to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. With guidelines encouraging social distancing and staying home, millions have accustomed to new ways of living. Life without bars, sports, movies and so much more. This is life during COVID-19.
Working Through A Pandemic
One of the biggest changes to occur due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been the remote switch for millions of Americans to work or study from home. For the majority of people across the country there seems to be only two sides of feelings to this switch. You either love it, or you hate it.
Before the pandemic, there was an upward trend of people across multiple industries choosing to work from home but with the recent events, many were thrown into an unfamiliar and often difficult environment to navigate. Whether it be because you have a difficult time finding a proper work environment, distractions from family, or simple lack of knowing how to use some of the digital tools used to work and communicate virtually, working and learning from home can be a pain.
Distractions & Lack of Focus
Adam Valdez, 13, is one of many students having a hard time making the transition to online learning.
“The living room is where I come to relax and watch tv, not do math homework with my teacher,” said Valdez.
This is a common response when asking students how they are adapting to their new classroom. The New York Times went further into depth about some of the struggles students are having ranging from things such as lack of internet access, to teachers not knowing how to create an online course.
For Adam Valdez, it is more of a routine disruption that has made the switch to online classes so difficult.
“It’s a weird feeling going from waking up at 7 a.m, seeing my friends, doing work in class, to waking up at noon and having your mom tell you that you have 3 assignments due for the day.”
This has become a reality for many and it is one of the many problems students across the world are having to deal with. Worrying about assignments to turn in while there is an entire global crisis going on is not an easy task. That task does not get any easier when you have to deal with balancing other and more important things like work, health and relationships.
Digital Knowledge & Accessibility
For others, the difficulty of working or learning from home stems from more technical issues like not knowing how to operate or navigate certain platforms or programs.
Most adults, depending on the field of work they’re in, do not have a ton of experience using certain digital tools or even computers in general. Adam Valdez says he is constantly having to set up programs and fix issues his parents are having on a daily basis as they also switch to working from home. A lot of homes and families are not properly equipped to deal with the new changes that come with doing work online whether it be due to outdated equipment or internet speeds that cannot keep up with the level of work being assigned. Having to deal with such an abrupt change can be very difficult, and not being prepared or properly taught how to operate the new and drastic changes can be very detrimental to the overall success or quality of work.
However for some, these new changes can be the complete opposite.
More Flexibility & Free Time
Andrew Valdez, Director of Creative Communications for the Alamo Colleges District has had a pretty smooth transition to working from home.
“I’ve been enjoying my time,” said Andrew Valdez. “I have the privilege of working a flexible schedule which has left me with a lot more time to spend with family and on things like Netflix than I’d normally have,” said Valdez.
Andrew Valdez says most of his time when he’s not in meetings consists of spending quality time with his wife and one year old son who he’d normally have to be away from if it were not for the changes due to COVID.
“As difficult and as scary the overall situation is, I’m very grateful to be given the opportunity to work from home where I’m safe and closest to my loved ones.”
In the end, this pandemic has had both negative and positive effects on millions across the world. Depending on your situation, you may have it more difficult than others, regardless, one thing that can be learned from all of this is that there are always positives to be found in dark and difficult situations.