By: Kanalya Arivalagan
2L at Syracuse University College of Law
It was such a strange transition, going from in-person classes to the sudden lockdown on March 16, 2020.
One would think that the frenzy from the rapid sequence of events throughout the world, the nation, and our home would also be reflected in our classes at the law school. However, most of my professors chose to go on as if everything was normal. So, I put myself through the motions as if things were normal such as completing my readings, taking notes, reviewing notes, attending office hours, and meeting with study groups. But things were most definitely not normal.
The abnormality was reflected in my summer internship where I worked as a legal intern at a district attorney’s office in Texas. The impact on the livelihood of the people with awaiting cases, prosecutors, judges, and everyone else in between was immense and obvious. The court hearings were either postponed or held on Zoom. I listened in on juvenile cases where the court had to decide whether to allow the child back with the father who is a drug abuser or let him stay in a facility where being exposed to the virus was a possibility.
Though I had my own space most of the time, I still had to interact with others to complete projects and coordinate timings for the hearings. Soon, when the cases started rising exponentially in Texas and in turn, my anxiety started spiking, I began to wear a mask even in the office as a precaution, especially due to the daily news on the many ways that COVID-19 could damage the lungs.
The cases in the county and my anxiety were both worsening, so much so that I ended my internship a month early after letting them know that I would like to complete my assignments from my home in California. The amount lessened significantly because of my decreased access to confidential files in hard copy. So, I had much more time to explore what I can do to fill in the time.
While I completed the tasks from home, I also learned how to sew holes in my dresses, cook more than just ramen and pasta, kickbox for cardio, meditate for more than just two minutes, and even journal to unravel my emotions and monotonous days.
Quarantining provided me the discomfort of having to deal with just myself, but also the opportunity to truly see the world for what it is, the fragility of life, and the possibility of being whoever I wanted to be if I put just a little bit of effort. Though everything is unprecedented and our lives after COVID-19 will look different from the one we had before March, it will all be okay because we’re all still in this strange transition together.