• Sharon Cook

Let’s Reminisce -- How did we End up Here?

The years of 2020 and 2021 have been absolutely insane, especially for high school seniors. Let’s be honest: every year on New Year’s we hope and we make New Year's resolutions claiming that we’re going to be better people and the year will be the best. I said that in the beginning of 2020, and everything was going well… until March 13th of that year. At first it was really exciting to hear that we weren’t going to school for two weeks. But, then two weeks turned into two months and those months turned into quarantining for so many months; for some people nearly a year of quarantining happened. Distance learning finally took place and so many people struggled to the point where they failed classes, some seniors may not even graduate and it’s upsetting to realize how difficult it was for some people. Not only was school difficult, so was the isolation.

Quarantine made many people, including myself, extremely lonely and intimidated by socialization. I know I don’t just speak for myself when I say that this past year was one of the hardest mental health wise. My mental health took a plummet, and I also started questioning my gender and sexuality. I second guessed myself so much and now I am a completely different person compared to how I went into quarantine. No matter how sure of myself I was, there was a little voice in my head saying that when quarantine was over nobody would like me as much as they used to. I started believing that my face was better covered up by a mask anyways and I was extremely insecure. However, once things started to look up I began to feel so much better. First lockdown ended and I felt a bit safer to hangout with a friend or two or even go to the park.

As bad as my mental health got, there were good parts of quarantine and of the year in general. Quarantine gave us the opportunity to reconnect with old friends, learn a new hobby, maybe even make homemade banana bread. We are living through history and yes, that’s so cheesy to say but it’s the truth. The first quarantine taught me to not depend on others for my happiness, the second one however made me realize that being alone was actually really nice. I was in my own space where I could learn, dress, and do anything that I usually wouldn’t do if someone else was around. Sure, it was very lonely at times but logging on to my favorite class or joining a zoom with my family members was a way to cheer me up. Distance learning wasn’t the best at all, but at least we had communication to our teachers and classmates.

Many of us changed drastically during quarantine: some of us got a new style, really short haircuts, tattoos and piercings. We did things that we’d usually be scared to do because of other people’s judgement. I can for sure say that my style has improved a lot, I started wearing a bit of makeup, I pierced my eyebrow and came out for the 4th time. Some of us got more educated on world issues such as Black Lives Matter and issues happening in other countries, while others chose to stay ignorant and not acknowledge the privilege we have as Americans. Protests happened because George Floyd was killed, a lot of anger and sadness was released. Ignorance was expressed and emotions were all spilled out. If there is one thing I really learned this past year, it’s that I have more privileges than most people and it’s my job to make sure I fight for equality.

Despite everything that we’ve struggled through, the pandemic has taught me that I need to take every moment I can in order to live the life that I want to. Seniors lost what was supposed to be our best year of high school, some people lost family members and for that I am sorry. There’s no amount of apologies and condolences I can give that would make the year better, but I will acknowledge that we are very strong people. We’re stronger than what we think and we will continue to go on to do amazing things.

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