Since the pandemic started I have had a surprisingly great experience. I am a very anxious person but not when it comes to disease or not being able to see friends. I am more anxious when I have to be social and hang out with friends. During the pandemic, I have actually excelled in my schoolwork, home life, and have even made some friends on the way. Before the pandemic, I was also busy with sports, homework, more sports, and more homework. Even though I love playing sports and seeing people at school, the pandemic has given me time to take a well-deserved break. I am an overachiever of sorts and the pandemic has taught me that sometimes I need to slow down and focus on myself. Although sports and schoolwork are important, nothing comes before me and the pandemic has really shown me that more than ever. Without the pandemic, honestly, I do not think I would be prepared for college in that I would be overwhelmed and stressed at all times. Now I am ready for anything to come my way in the upcoming years, especially if I got through covid while taking two AP classes and passing.
My priorities have changed a lot since the pandemic hit in March of 2020. I used to prioritize my homework and sports more than anything else. Since March there haa not been any sports and I have changed that priority to a priority of my friends and family. Before the pandemic, I never really focused on my friends and family and held in a lot of my own emotions as well. Now that I have to stay home and can only see a few people, I have been able to be there for them. Even when I had some practices during the pandemic, I still prioritized seeing them and listening to them more than only talking about sports. Although school is usually my number one priority and missing homework would be the death of me, I have changed that mindset. Now if I miss an assignment or need extra time I can just send an email to my teachers knowing that I am not the only one behind. My other main priority is just sticking to a regime during a time where a regime is very difficult to have. I make sure that I get fully ready every day even if I feel tired or run-down. Making sure to work out, put on pants (not sweats) and be present in class as if we were in person is my number one priority.
Things are different in my life now because I truly began to focus on myself through the pandemic. I have taught myself to be confident, wear whatever I want, and not feel insecure. High school is tough and anybody who thinks that they are going to get through it without losing friends or feeling insecure is wrong. I was one of those people. During the pandemic, however, I have changed and realized that that is just life and although it is bad in the moment or for a few days, it is only temporary. Due to this realization, in the future, after covid, nothing will stop me from being who I want to be and being my true self around people. If people do not love me for who I am then it is their loss, not mine. During the pandemic, I have had a renewed appreciation for so many things especially my body. At many times I do not like my body and think that it needs to be changed, but it does not. If my body got me through a pandemic where millions of people got sick and thousands of people died, then my body will never be under-appreciated ever again. I also have a renewed appreciation for friends that stuck around during the pandemic. Many people who I thought were my friends just stopped talking to me if I was quarantining or felt unsafe going out. The friends that did stick around, however, are my true friends and I know that a pandemic will not tear us apart.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have learned a lot. Outside of school, I have learned a lot by myself. I’ve learned that I’m a lot more social than I perceived myself to be. I miss seeing my classmates and interacting with my teachers. I’ve also learned that I’m very self-motivated. Without people around me to push me to improve as a runner, I have to push myself on runs. Although it is nothing compared to my teammates, I have improved as a runner by pushing myself.
Although school remained high on my priority list, I began to prioritize my mental health and physical health. Looking at a screen for hours for school five days a week took a toll on me. I relied on playing guitar and listening to music to keep me afloat. With athletic events cancelled, I wasn’t able to run at practices or races. Running with my teammates made it much easier to run and stay in shape. Although it was difficult at first, I had to motivate myself to run on my own and run consistently every week. On top of that, I began to value my friendships a lot more. I don’t get to see them on a daily basis anymore so I’ve learned to make the most when I do get to see them.
Aside from school, the biggest change in my life has definitely been my daily routine. Instead of comfortable waking up at 6:30 in the morning to get ready for school, I now struggle to wake up at 8:30 in the morning. Now without the need of driving to school I have more time to unwind after classes before going out for a run. Another aspect of my life that has changed drastically is running. As the beginning of the postponed cross country season comes closer, the school has been holding optional practices at school with new safety precautions, the biggest being running with a mask. Such a simple change has made running more difficult, but has undoubtedly made me a better runner.
In the last year since the beginning of quarantine, I have learned a lot about myself. Being home all day has given me more time to relax and be alone with my thoughts. I learned more about my family, and got much closer with them during the last year. As a result of this learning, I realized what I value most. I value my relationships, both with my family and my friends. I learned to prioritize my grades and school work when in an environment that is easier to get distracted in than the physical school building. I chose to prioritize my mental health during this last year, balancing my home, social, school, and work lives.
My life now is much different than it was a year ago. I’m much closer to my family, and have spent more time with them than I ever have before. Not seeing my friends every day has allowed me to become closer with them than I ever have. Going forward in my life, I know how my relationships with my family and friends will grow and impact how I live my life. I also know how to best prioritize my mental health when juggling multiple things. I have a newfound appreciation for my family and friends, especially my mom. I have gotten much closer with my mom over this last year, bonding over everything from college applications to the Blazers. I have also come to appreciate, oddly enough, my job. It gave me something to do to get out of the house when normally I am stuck inside all day. I have also come to appreciate my coworkers, and have gotten closer with multiple of them throughout the last year. I have formed many lasting friendships with people I never would have met or gotten to know if the last year had been a normal one.
Since the pandemic started my world has completely changed. Everything that used to seem normal or part of everyday life is now just out of reach from being possible. I have learned how to adjust to different situations and do my best to overcome them. Never in a million years did I think that I would be doing my senior year of high school from my bedroom. Even though the situation isn’t ideal, I have learned to adjust and see the advantages to it. I get to wear sweatpants or leggings everyday, and instead of waking up earlier to do my hair and makeup I get to sleep a little longer.
Quarantine has made me realize how much I value all of my friendships and the relationships I have with my classmates and teachers. I find myself missing seeing people that I wasn’t even necessarily friends with. I realized that I took for granted seeing my classmates everyday until I couldn’t see them anymore. Now there are some kids that I haven’t talked to since March. I forgot about some of the people in my grade until we switched classes for second semester.
My day to day life is completely different then it used to be. I used to wake up in the morning and be busy until late that night. I did homework until the wee hours of the morning. Now I have more time to myself, I lay around on my days off, and I go hours with nothing to do. I know the things will never be the same again. My future became more unpredictable when all of this started. I haven’t been able to visit any of the colleges that I applied to, so it is much harder to make my decision on where to go.
These days I appreciate every time I get to hang out with any of my friends. I get excited even if we only see each other passing as we go to school for different activities. I also have come to appreciate my mom more than ever. She has been my rock during this whole time. She sits and listens to me cry and complain about my lack of senior year. She even made me mango smoothies during the weekend that I was supposed to be in Hawaii with the choir. Since she works from home and I see her more, I finally recognize how hard she really works and everything she does for our family. This pandemic has taught me to not take for granted the people around me.