Life and Politics by Zoom

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Life and Politics by Zoom

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In February of 2020, I was a high school senior trying to finish up high school and think about what I was trying to be doing the next school year. By March, the Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker declared a stay-at-home order and I was finishing high school by doing assignments and emailing them to teachers. Then the shut-down really evolved as my high school prom and graduation were both canceled. Well, our graduation was only partially canceled. Six students receiving diplomas were allowed to show up every 30 minutes, with no more than five family members present, and everyone remained socially distant throughout the process.

My parents both started working from home and always seemed to be doing something I had not previously heard of, Zoom calls. To get a head start on college, I had signed up for a Summer class at Suffolk University. Amongst other reasons, I had chosen Suffolk for its proximate location to my home, its outstanding science facilities (a brand-new sciences and lab building), urban feel and connections to local businesses, hospitals, and research facilities. Then the class went remote and Zoom meetings became the norm for me.

The Politics of a Global Pandemic class involved a weekly Zoom forum with panelists from around the world. Topics varied weekly, but the theme always involved global politics around this pandemic. At first, I figured it would be mainly US politics, since it is a presidential election year. Then we talked about a variety of pandemic's global impacts, economic effects, cultural changes, and how society and political leaders view these challenges.

We didn't use Zoom calls in those last few months of my senior year of high school. Then two months later, Zoom became so mainstream that the biggest political convention of my lifetime (to date) was actually held virtually. The title of the article, "The DNC Is the Best Zoom Meeting of 2020—So Far" resonates as it seems like this could be just the beginning. I turned 18 just prior to the pandemic and registered to vote. From what I've seen in online videos of past conventions, were speeches, political endorsements, and balloons cascading from the ceiling of a stadium as a candidate accepts his or her party nomination.

This pandemic changed things for me, for global politics, and society so drastically, I wonder when or if in-person schooling and politics will ever be what I saw and experienced over the course of my life. I’m now registered for all virtual classes this fall; and probably more Zoom calls.

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This item was submitted on August 23, 2020 by Anthony Ciriello using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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