Toronto, Ontario, Canada:
My university switched to online classes four weeks ago, and I am in the midst of my exams right now. It has definitely been harder to focus, both being at home, and feeling so precarious. All those little things that keep you going during exams – visiting family, the thought of summer, the promise of seasonal employment, even the nice weather, have all seemingly disappeared.
But it is also an undeniably interesting time, especially having spent the last two years studying political philosophy and human biology (two spheres that are increasingly at odds). A lot of interesting precedents are being set. In Canada, the Prime Minister and his cabinet have essentially instituted a Universal Basic Income for unemployed Canadians. Guards now stand on the Ontario-Quebec border, bringing to light inter-provincial conflict as old as Canada itself. In Toronto, hundreds of low-income children within the public school board are being sent iPads and laptops to receive at least some form of instruction. Inequalities are coming to light, and historical tensions are resurfacing.
In some ways, this is scary. But it is also certainly an opportunity. Us “quaranteens” are going to be coming of age in a very different world than our parents did, and we will have a lot of choices to make. I suppose my advice (from the older side of the teenaged spectrum) would be: Keep watching, learning, and preparing, because we are the ones who are going to pick up the pieces and build something new when this is all over. It’s time to start thinking about what we want that to look like.
20 April 2020