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Juliana Angela Lopez

Juliana Angela Lopez

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Felicity Joy Valdez

Felicity Joy Valdez

Artist

Beyond the Screen

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Once the cursor clicks the red ‘leave meeting,’ you get on your feet, arms outstretched to relieve the pulsating pain on your back after a long day of sitting in front of your computer. A sigh escapes your lips as another day of online learning is yet again, overcome. The relief is short-lived as your eyes fall on the long list of to-dos due one day after the other. With great despair, you take your place on the leather chair as the fluorescent of your screen reflects upon your face once again.

This scenario seems too familiar for many of us. For some, this became a never-ending cycle ever since online classes were implemented. No one ever prepared us for the sleepless nights, coffee-driven mornings, a day full of zoom meetings, and the endless tasks that came with the new normal. Albeit these changes promise security and at the same time, ensuring that life goes on, what if there is nothing ever normal in how we are looking at life in the present? That the reality behind this is we are just trying to insist that there is normalcy in these new waters we are trudging through?

A new notification, a new deadline set, a new project yet to be passed. Are these things surrounding us now entrapping us in this never-ending cycle?

Who are we beyond our screens? Better yet, do we have an identity that goes beyond who we project online? Perhaps we failed to realize that we have been trapped inside interfaces of our desktops, that we are nothing beyond, but limited to what we have now.

The lines between our academic and personal life have been severely blurred as the cost of home-based learning. We may be in the comfort of our homes, but sitting in front of a screen for painstakingly long hours almost feels like we were never here in the first place. Given that our usual environment for comfort has morphed into our learning centers, one can’t help but to feel that school seemingly has no end. Our escapes became the very cage we keep on running from. To lose the life we lived before almost felt like losing a version of ourselves as well.

Fear not, for losing grasp of our identities outside of the usual is valid given the sudden circumstances we were placed in. I, for one, have experienced the same feelings of helplessness and burn-out as well. It’s alright to feel a little lost sometimes, even when confusion stems from a place of familiarity. We are all moving towards accepting and adjusting to these changes, just at different paces. Nevertheless, we still move forward.

Despite these unprecedented times, we must never lose sight of who we truly are. Our world may be limited in the four walls of our abode, but that does not mean that what we are and who we can be is limited as well. In the end, we are more than just students: we are children, brothers, sisters, friends, and most importantly, humans. Read a book, have a call with your closest friends — anything to break the usual dragging routine, and just give yourself the time to live. Life does not stop, not if you don’t want it to.

We are more beyond the screen. You are more. Be brave enough and discover what greater things you could achieve.

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