The Confinement at Cegep Age

Students at John Abbott College wrote about the COVID-19 crisis in their French language media course. The following translations come from that course. Many students couldn’t celebrate reaching the age of majority with their classmates. In confinement, they gained an awareness of the impacts of the pandemic on everyone’s life. Here’s a look into the lives of students who were shut up for far too long because of the pandemic.

A Mother and a Vaccine Developer

By Marcellus

It is 11:30 p.m. I’ve just finished studying for an exam. As I walk through the living room I see a shimmering blue light and hear rhythmic typing sounds. My mother is still at work, seated at her computer. She works for a company that develops vaccines against COVID-19. What is almost like a vacation for me is a series of long hours and hard labor for her.

My mother has a master’s degree in microbiology from McGill University and has worked for the GSK company for 25 years. It’s a race against the clock to produce a COVID-19 vaccine.   

Making sure that everything works like a well-oiled machine is a difficult task. Having been through the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 2019, she has more experience than a lot of other people. Many get lost in the details and take too much time to make decisions. The most efficient solution is to follow the model they developed in 2019, and adopt a decision making model that is more dictatorial in nature than it is democratic and inclusive.

Huge efforts that demand a lot of time and energy help us forget the difficulties and stress of the pandemic. But at a given moment, the work becomes too invasive, and she has to take some time out for herself. What helped her get through the pandemic was cooking (exploring new recipes) and reading very thick books.

Twins in Quarantine

By Emilie Remington

For a year now, I’ve been spending more time than ever with members of my family and my pets. But I most often find myself with my twin, as if we’ve returned to our mother’s belly just as we were 19 years ago. I have gathered some of her comments:

I’ve found some new hobbies and have learned some new things about myself, most notably that I have a passion for knitting. I’ve also had the good luck to be able to evolve my dressing style since I’ve had a ton of time to study the latest trends.

The most difficult thing is to not be able to socialize with my friends, or go to music festivals, or travel.

Even though we’ve spent pretty much every day together since our birth, and even though we’re twins, I think that our sisterly friendship has blossomed.

French version on the Reflet de Société website

Illustration: Ren Tianxiao

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