Being an Asian American during this time is not easy. You hear all these stories about people verbally or physically attacking Asians whether they’re wearing a mask or not. Some even refer to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus” in which Asians (not just the Chinese) become the face of it. People began avoiding Asian restaurants and businesses with fears of contracting the virus. We are constantly caught between this idea of “almost white” and “perpetual foreigner”. They love the k-pop, anime, and bubble tea. But then they point their fingers at us for spreading the disease. As an adoptee from China, I have a mixed relationship with the term Asian American. Sometimes I embrace it fully and other times I shy away from it. People are confused when I have an Italian last name but an Asian face. While this was an ongoing identity crisis, the events of the past few weeks have really forced me to consider my place in the Asians in America/Asian American community. It is truly inspiring to see so many speaking up about racism, finding outlets through various art forms, and creating support networks all across the country.
The recent development of the coronavirus pandemic here in the US has undoubtedly thrown us all into confusion, anxiety, and fear. Many college students, like myself, have been sent home in attempts to contain the spread of the virus on campus. We were told we would be switching to remote instruction following our spring break. As a freshman, in my second semester, this definitely was not how I had imagined college to be like. I was still getting used to being at college and was just trying to find my niche. The sudden need to pack and move out put a lot of strain on students as we were also entering what would have been our midterm week. Not only did we have to worry about moving out, but this also placed some of us in compromised situations: financial instability, possibly being in unsafe households, lack of resources (academic included), etc. But people can truly surprise you in times of need. Having limited time truly directed us toward our priorities: compassion and love. Students from my school created a mutual aid spreadsheet where people offered rides, places to stay, food, and online resources. People constantly checked in and supported each other packing, spending as much time together as possible.
While this was a highly stressful time, this was also a time where connecting with other people became so much easier. Everyone was stressed. Everyone became vulnerable and the human capability to empathize really began to shine. And so I want to take this time to thank all of the people who have helped me throughout all of this: my friends (from home and the ones I made in college), my professors (who are working to make this educational transition as smooth as possible), the blue-collar workers at my school (it’s been tough for you recently, but I appreciate everything you do for us students), artists/creators (for trying to spread beauty and compassion in this difficult time), and of course my family. This wasn’t exactly how I imagined my first year of college, but I am grateful for everything it has taught me thus far.
And lastly, some things I have learned during this time of transition that I wish to share with you:
- Your feelings are valid!
- Take time for yourself! Breathe! Listen to some good music or do something you love!
- You are so capable of getting through this!
- Luckily, you do not have to go through this alone! *cue High School Musical*
Thanks so much!