Ayesha Veera is Sri Lankan but who grew up in Toronto and now attends Sciences Po in Reims. She got to spend quarantine at home in Canada with her family .
So, according to you, how was this year universally impactful?
Ayesha: This past year was an impactful one as it existed at the cross section of a global health crisis and massive civil rights movements.
inequalities: societal and economic
The pandemic highlighted not only societal inequalities in terms of access to health care, but economic ones in terms of “who-can-be-en–télétravail” and who cannot.
The structure of economic and political systems in western liberal democracies are often considered the “strongest”. I believe their ability to handle both massive periods of crisis and civil change was revealed in 2020. It led people to recognize flaws in the system that were previously more elusive.
What has the shared experience made us realize? Any lessons?
This “shared experience” has highlighted the individual’s relationship to the collective.
With so many people confined alone, students were isolated from their peers… I think that while it was a “shared experience”, many were confronted with issues and challenges that they were forced to face without the support of their community.
In terms of lessons, those are also formed on an individual basis –with common themes such as the importance of both collective support and individual introspection.
Each person experienced the universal shock of their own personal way –we seemingly all went through highs and lows:
– What has the shared experience made us realize? Any lessons?
I was incredibly blessed during the pandemic as neither myself or my family lost our source of income.
learning how to adjust
For me, the most challenging part of the pandemic (like for most) was learning how to adjust to a complete transformation of my daily life and surroundings. Working at my mother’s pharmacy while I was in online-school wasn’t easy.
I found going from “normal-uni-life” to a much more fast-paced environment under high professional and academic pressure at the same time to be a significant challenge.
– In the bigger picture, do you think you needed 2020? Did the experience of confinement, etc. allow for any personal realizations/ growth?
2020 could be considered a global tragedy and, in that sense while no one “needs” tragedy, it often raises questions and issues that would not have been brought up without it.
The experience of confinement was incredibly limiting for me as it was for everyone. I am, however, most grateful for the time I got to spend with my family after two years abroad.
– How has this unique year generally shaped you?
This year may not have shaped me more than any other year. I believe every year gets more and more challenging as one gets older. They also become more rewarding due to the magnitude of things that you are forced to overcome.
to see my family and friends
Any other version of this year would probably have shaped me just as much. But coming out of 2020 I had one wish: wanting to see my family and friends (which I think is quite universal).
If 2020 was a book, each chapter an account of one’s own personal experience of the year, what would be the title of your chapter?
“(Don’t) Trust the Roscón”.
What’s a memory of yours from this year you hope to preserve forever?
I really enjoyed spending time with my family back home, most notably ordering McDonald’s coffee with my dad on his way to work (one medium black and one medium with two milks) and working with my mom at the pharmacy.
How will you remember 2020 twenty years from now?
I think as a collective we will remember 2020 as a watershed moment in terms of civil rights and political culture. For me, I have a really hard time remembering years, but I will definitely be able to cite every viral song (@joeville) and Morgan Freeman’s narration on the 21 Savage’s album.
How will having lived 2020 impact the year to come –either in terms of new general normalcy or rather how you envision the effects on you own life post-pandemic?
I don’t like making predictions, I think that should be left to the pros 😉
About the Article
A look at the impact of the pandemic and how one person rode out the quarantine with her family in Toronto.