Lack of Control in a Pandemic

Students are battling between the uncontrollable psychological stress and government restrictions of the pandemic, but we have to remain strong and together to overcome this challenge


Andrea Chen

There is avid confusion among students on how to find control in uncontrollable factors of the pandemic.

As high schoolers, we don’t really have any control over the virus, with students under 16 years old not even having the choice to take the vaccine. We just have to depend on those who have the power and the capacity to take control, causing many to feel trapped.  

However, even with the uncertainties that life throws at us, we can still find a way to deal with the uncontrollable and maybe even gain a sense of proactive involvement. This creates a sense of control which humans need, combined with the uncertainties of the future feelings of distress arise. 

Although it feels like we have very little power in fighting the circumstances of 2020, ultimately, humans will still be able to have control over themselves. We have control over wearing a mask or if we decide to trust others along with who we let into our lives. The environment, on the other hand, is a wild card. Thus, we must focus on what we can control — our personal choice and our routine — therefore building a structure around us and gaining a sense of superiority. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 took a huge hit on students because of the sudden change in environment at school. The traditional structure and atmosphere students were accustomed to were completely torn down and replaced with something unfamiliar. Now, faced with uncertainties, creating a routine gives one a sense of authority and control of the situation, allowing us to have something to lean on while the rest of the world spins out of control.

It is important to stick to this routine even when we are tempted to ignore health guidelines.

According to the psychology of crisis by Crisis + Emergency Risk Communication (CERC), we tend to miss the nuances of health and safety when under intense stress, such as a pandemic, leading to a possible downplay of the virus by being lax about the rules set in place. 

However, we have to consider what our actions will lead to. We should take the safer route of addressing the pandemic and taking measures to end it that are backed by science. Life will go back to normal quicker, people will be safer  and we will not have to dream of what life once was before the pandemic if we take that safer route. At the end of the day, you have free will to obey the community rules. Slowing the spread and controlling our inclinations to socialize with moderation for public health safety will allow us to escape this situation quicker.

Although it might seem we have a physiological control over the problem, that doesn’t mean we have a full control over it.

According to The Atlantic magazine continuous low funds provided to the  health care system diminished the nation’s capacity to avoid the virus’ dissemination. A bureaucratic and antiquated health care system prevented hospitals from updating their preparedness to face the number of people affected. Some ethnic groups are more likely to get hit harder by the virus than others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the eight-month period between March 1 to November 7, there were 70,825 hospitalizations; while White and non-Hispanic Black people represent the highest number of hospitalizations, racial and ethnic groups were disproportionately impacted.

Although there is an desire to help low income or struggling families, our divided government presents butting heads that fail to deliver much needed stimulus, thus entrapping people in a current state of little to no funds. 

While this was an incredibly stressful past year, it is important to remember that the situation is temporary. In order to get through this, it is vital to focus on what we can control as an individual. We can wear our masks, stay socially distanced and take time for ourselves. As individuals, we can help bring normal back. We are many, we are one, we are Warriors.