Makenzie Garner is Communications Assistant for Florida Humanities.

The coronavirus came so fast and out of nowhere, that my friends and I initially didn’t take it seriously. It was halfway around the world in China, far from our lives as seniors at University of South Florida St. Petersburg. We thought the situation was heartbreaking but went about our day as most people did.

It’s this kind of attitude that drove the college generation of kids. The news kept pushing that our generation wasn’t at risk, we were safe for the moment. So, with spring break around the corner, we were ready to party on. When our school started emailing us, that eluded to the growing seriousness of the virus.

When I first got the email explaining that classes would be remote until April 5th, I was excited. Three weeks of spring break? Heck yeah! I was going to spend almost every day at the beach, spending time with my friends and having fun. A few days later I got a message from one of my friends from the Tampa campus saying that graduation was canceled. I was in disbelief; classes were only canceled until April. Why would they cancel graduation?

Then the announcement came, and a storm of emotions flooded me. I was angry, disappointed, sad and guilty. I am angry to be robbed of something I was so proud of. I am disappointed that I lost a ceremony celebrating something I worked so hard for. I am sad that I lost an opportunity to see my family. And I feel guilty because there are so many people dying and here I am, upset about a ceremony.

A vague situation from across the world turned into this massive life-threatening crisis. Classes are now remote until the end of the summer and most are predicting the virus to peak in May. I’m worried about those who suffer from mental health issues like depression and anxiety. I’m also worried about those on the front lines combating this virus and the exhaustion they must feel. The future looks so uncertain, I know that we will get through this somehow. I guess all we can do now is wait.