By Len La Rocca
You only get one four-year shot at the college experience. But Covid-19, the subtly spread virus that has masked the face of a self-absorbed society, just doesn’t care.
It’s been six months since students left campus in what was thought to be an abundance of caution. One lonely summer, two scrapped hopes to reopen campus and 87 student cases of Covid-19 later, it is clear: F.O.M.O., the fear of missing out, is setting in on students staying in Ewing this fall in off-campus housing.
With no classes held in person due to the virus, some students living in their hometowns have one question: why are students in Ewing? Are they locked into leases or locked into the desires promised to them in the stereotypical college experience?
Amid many rumors of off-campus kickbacks and the College’s contact tracers suspecting parties thrown by students in Ewing to be the source of the recent spike, are we doing our part as responsible students to keep the most vulnerable members of society safe?
The role of compassion lies at the core of getting through these times. I understand the hesitation to let go of the college experience. It may be your last year at the College, living with your organization and being surrounded by friends all the time. This is human. But the virus is not.
It is the responsibility of those least affected to protect those most vulnerable. This is not a profound take.
That means canceling the kickbacks, sticking to hanging out with your housemates and understanding that those around you are at risk of not a mere cold or flu, but at risk of death.
The F.O.M.O. felt during these times could have been anticipated. We are further away from each other than ever before, yet those not adhering to social distancing and safe health practices are posting their reckless behavior on Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram as if it were the carefree days of 2019.
There is no room for the “If I die, I die” mentality when you’re deciding to run the risk of making Ewing a dangerous place to live for those most vulnerable because you want to party.
Described by New Jersey Gov. Murphy as “knucklehead” behavior, it has no place in a society that cares for one another. This F.O.M.O. evokes from blatant violations of a societal code that we are now well aware of: stop the spread and keep each other safe.
There should be no fear of missing out on something that shouldn’t be happening in the first place.
If you have a kickback planned, ask yourself:
Is it a spit in the face to those who are elderly, immunocompromised or disproportionately impacted when you run the risk of spreading the virus in the ShopRite of Ewing the morning after a night of partying?
Do you understand how you align yourself with ignorance when you bypass mask-wearing, social distancing and safe health practices?
Would it be worth it if one of your family members caught the virus from a family friend whose kid went to a college party the night before?
Take the loss. Most of us are. You can too.