One Year of COVID-19

March 11th, 2020 was nothing if not a day to remember. The Utah Jazz announced that one of their star players tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and Tom Hanks announced the same of he and his wife. The NBA abruptly cancelled the remainder of their season. Schools began to shut down. And it all happened in a span of about two hours.

As I wrote the next day: “It’s enough to make a nineteen-year-old have a panic attack.”

I almost did. But instead, I wrote this story.

I wrote about my experience as a college freshman watching the world around me crumble in real time. I wrote about my fear for the future. I wrote about other students in their concerns. There was something about the situation that made me hyperaware of its seriousness, and I knew I would want to remember exactly what I experienced as it all went down.

A year later, I’m so glad I did.

The panicked nineteen-year-old who wrote that story was deeply afraid, but she was also incredibly naive. If she could see me now, fully masked and anticipating a vaccine appointment in the near future, I think she’d be shocked. She’d be shocked to see the world I live in now: a world of plastic barriers and online classes and meetings; a world of cancellations and social distancing.

But I think she’d be proud, too.

She’d be proud that, for the most part, we banded together during this pandemic. Healthcare workers sacrificed their free time and well-being to care for those who needed it most. Scientists worked around the clock to develop a groundbreaking mRNA vaccine that literally changes the way we look at vaccination methods. Teachers took to Zoom and made space to understand their students and the difficulties they were experiencing. And when George Floyd was murdered in an act of complete and utter injustice, we took to the streets and made our voices heard, face masks and all.

A masked protest at SUU

Because even though so many tragedies occurred in the last year, it is a testament to human strength that we’re still moving forward with groundbreaking solutions, creative thinking, and the support of our peers. The pandemic is a disaster, a calamity, and a complete upheaval of social norms, but it’s also a catalyst for change. I never could have foreseen the full effect when it all started a year ago, but I think I do now.

Who knows where we’ll be in another year?

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I‘m just a college student who really likes to write.

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I‘m just a college student who really likes to write.

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