A High School Junior: March 13 Reflection
I remember March 12 of last year vividly. It was a Thursday, the last one before Spring Break, and there was a strange buzz in the school hallways. Not long before, the new COVID-19 virus had been declared a pandemic, and Spring Break trips were being canceled left and right. Many of my friends and teachers were talking about how our break would likely be extended; maybe two weeks or so just to get the virus under control. Ultimately, we all said our usual “see you tomorrow” and went back to our daily routine. Little did we know our lives would be drastically changed the next day.
My first few months of quarantine started out like many other people’s, I assume. I spent a lot of time walking my dog, FaceTiming friends, and watching way too much TV. I was lucky to also be able to spend a lot of time with my family because my parents were able to work from home. As my sophomore year of high school ended and the summer began, I started to realize how much I missed “normal” life. Summer just wasn’t the same without being able to see my friends, travel with my family, or go to summer camp. The days started to blur together until, all of a sudden, it was time for junior year.
Fast forward about six months from the start of this school year, and my concept of time is still nowhere to be found. I’ve celebrated many milestones in this year, like getting my driver’s license and turning 17, but it never quite felt right. I’m sure many of us who are doing virtual school can agree that it has contributed to this feeling. Many times, hours in front of the computer screen will go by and barely any of my work has actually been accomplished.
Despite these challenges, I believe it’s important to recognize and reflect on the highlights of this past year. Personally, my highlight has been spending more time with my family. We were eventually able to travel to both Colorado and Big Bend National Park where we could hike and do other activities while staying away from other people. It was refreshing to do something different and be in a new environment, and I definitely will not be taking that for granted after the pandemic is over.
I often find myself wondering what this past year would’ve been like if COVID-19 and all of the other “historic” and “unprecedented” events that seem to be plaguing us never occurred. What experiences have I missed out on? Would I still have the same friends? How many people would still be alive today?
The reality is that none of these questions will ever be answered. If I’ve learned one thing over the last year, it’s that we have to focus on the positive aspects of this situation in order to move forward. Right now, many people are starting to get vaccines and positive cases are drastically decreasing. There is a lot of discussion about how these things mark a “return to normalcy”, but I disagree. We will never go back to that normal. I can only hope that a new “normal”, one where we are more grateful for each other and the things that we lost over the past 365 days, will emerge.