Before, after pandemic

It has now been officially one year since this pandemic started to spread throughout the United States. Thinking back on it, it feels like forever since it started, and it still feels surreal to me it’s already been a year. I vaguely remember the week before spring break a year ago, and it feels strange to know that was our last normal week, and we didn´t even know it. I remember at the time my only concern was passing my high school credit classes with flying colors so my GPA could start off on a high note. At the time, it seemed as though COVID-19 was something that wouldn´t spread to the U.S. But here we are, a year later, still in a pandemic. Although it has improved compared to last year.

It honestly still feels like yesterday that this all started. When my friends and I heard spring break would be extended, we were all so excited because it would give us another week or so to relax before coming back to the stressful life of a middle school student preparing for the STAAR test, Algebra EOC, and high school. However, as the days dragged on, we found that being at home all the time was boring. The days blended together, and they continued to even when we found out that we would be finishing the school year virtually. At this point, there was no difference between Monday and Saturday. Our daily lives went from waking up and going to school to waking up late into the afternoon and completing our school work at midnight. It also didn´t help that we were learning asynchronously, so it wasn´t mandatory to join Teams meetings. The days had already all blended together at that point.

However, what felt strange in the beginning slowly became the new norm. And as the days dragged on and we got closer to the end of the school year, it was then time for us to worry about how next year would look. At the time, my biggest concern was my entire future honestly. Before the pandemic, I was so sure of what I wanted to do in high school and the future, however, as we spent more time isolated at home, and the less contact I had with my friends, teachers, etc., the more I started thinking about how my future would change. I remember at the time how boring band was to me. It honestly seemed like a waste of time since I wasn´t enjoying it as much anymore. It was also sad because we had so much planned for band, and it would´ve been nice to end the school year feeling proud of how much we had improved as individuals and a band, especially since we found out that our head director would be leaving. Then we found out later after spring break that our assistant director would be moving as well. It was so boring to the point where I contemplated quitting after my freshman year and applying for ECHS, where I´d probably make better use of my time.

Then the school year officially started. I started off the school year virtually, and it was completely different from what I thought it would be. Now, it finally felt more normal, and even though I hated waking up and getting out of bed some days, it was nice to have a routine to keep me grounded since it was nonexistent during quarantine. Finally, I would have something to do every day and a constant routine that would at least give me some form of normalcy. It was refreshing to finally do something during the day and even though being virtual wasn´t the best, it was a lot better than sitting around all day doing absolutely nothing.

That leads us to now. I´m now in-person, and it feels more normal as every day passes. Things have improved considerably since the beginning of this pandemic. COVID-19 protocols feel like second nature at this point, and I hope that people will continue to follow these protocols until we can officially say the world is COVID-19 free. Though there have been vaccines made, and the cases have decreased, there´s still a risk of contracting COVID, especially since there have also been new strains emerge. It might be possible for things to go back to normal soon, but I know I will continue to pray and hope that people I know and people I don´t know don´t contract COVID. This year has been hectic and strange, but I have faith that things will get better, as long as people continue to wear their masks and social distance to the best of their abilities. Most importantly, I hope this pandemic will help people become more considerate of others who may be more at risk of contracting it.