An education graduate in the time of the COVID-19

Taliza Bernabe, Education Student

January of 2020 commenced the last semester of our four years in college. I was excited not only for myself but for my classmates as well because after all we’ve been through, we were nearing the finish line. However, even the most meticulous of people who plan their future to the tiniest details, didn’t have any control with the chain of unfortunate current affairs.

January gave us the Taal volcano eruption which led to the suspension of classes. By the end of the same month, the first confirmed case of the COVID-19 was confirmed in Metro Manila. When February strolled along, everyone’s fear heightened. People began to panic which led to the unnecessary hoarding of the necessities. As March came, the number of cases began to grow day by day and the fright never lessened. By the middle of the month, the government decided to put Metro Manila under extreme community quarantine (ECQ). The idea of the ECQ is to restrict the movement of the people, except for those regarded as essential workers in the battle against the virus, to slow down the spread of the pandemic.

As a graduating student, so many questions were constantly running through my mind. How are we going to continue our classes? Are we even continuing? Am I graduating this semester? I was in a constant state of anxiety because I didn’t know what I had and could do. Just when you thought everything felt so near, in reality, it was actually still so far.

A few days after the announcement of the ECQ, Trinity University of Asia (TUA) decided to suspend e-learning with the acknowledgement that not all faculty and students have the capacity and mobility to fulfill their respective duties and responsibilities. A little over a month has passed and TUA decided to resume e-learning. As explained to us, the resumption of e-learning is with the idea that it is of the best interest to finish the semester with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Together with the reopening of the e-learning is utmost consideration to everyone, especially for those who struggle finding ways to connect online.

My classmates and I continued to satisfy our requirements and thankfully, our professors gave us sufficient time to work on it prior to submitting. One of my professors even told me during one of our conference calls, “kung nahihirapan kayong kummonect sa internet, sabihan niyo lang ako. Stay at home and lagi tayong safety first.” (non-verbatim) which made my partners and I feel secured that if something does happen, we would be understood. We needed that guarantee of safety.

With prayers, hard work, and an overflow of trust not only in myself but with my family and classmates as well, we were all able to successfully comply with our prerequisites for graduation. Now what leaves me, and I assume the vast majority of the graduating batch, feeling apprehensive is the uncertainty of what the future holds for us. Will the “new normal” be kind to our entry in the workforce? With all the recuperating that would need to be done when our situation gets better, where do I stand? What would I need to do to become relevant and effective at what I studied? Beyond the academics, I was raised by the Trinitian community to not only do all things with excellence but to also be socially responsible. When we no longer have to see each other just through the computer screen, I hope that we remind ourselves to live life mindfully, be more conscious of our words and actions, and grow more in love with people.