One year later, the world is still taken over by the COVID-19 pandemic. The year was a time of growth and reflection for many.(Photo courtesy of Lyric Chassin)
On March 13 2020, the United States of America and many other countries around the world went into lockdown from the surge of COVID-19 cases. The goal was to keep cases down so that hospitals would not become over populated: the less people infected, the less people needing to be treated.
One year later, March 13 2021, we are still in lockdown. The initial two weeks turned into a year — much longer than anyone ever expected. The year of COVID was emotionally draining for many people. The abundance of fear, isolation, and the unknown drove many people to a state of depression and a feeling of hopelessness. For some, the year away from society as we knew it benefited them immensely. Breaks from the stress of everyday life left them refreshed and restored. People grew within themselves and formed stronger bonds with their families.
For Leesville students, the time away from school allowed for self reflection and personal growth. Ignacio Leon, a senior at Leesville Road High School, came to the realisation that his relationships shaped him into the person he is today. “The pandemic has taught me that I really depend on social interaction. Getting to talk to people face to face and hang out with them [has] made me who I am and [has] helped me mature and learn in school and my daily life,” Leon said via text.
Maggie Salisbury, a senior at Leesville Road High School, said COVID only emphasized the fact that she is at her best in a state of independence. “The pandemic has taught me that I’m a pretty independent person, and while I enjoy being around others, I do my best work in a private setting,” Salisbury said via text.
The separation from her peers taught her to value her time with them and to implement time for herself even in the midst of busy and stressful situations. “The pandemic has taught me how much value there is in alone time, and how important it is to make that time for yourself.”
Over the past year, the world has faced many challenges apart from the pandemic at hand. The United States specifically endured an extended period of intense uprising and riots against the racial inequality that is still prominent in our society. It is extremely difficult for people to come together and fight for what they believe in when lives are at risk. Even in regards to the pandemic, no issue can be solved without a united front. “Everyone around the world can come together and great change can be achieved. There are people who will always object to new ideas and change, but in the end, change always happens,” said Leon.
Looking back on March 13 2020, no one knew of the long and bumpy road ahead. As seniors in high school, Leon and Salisbury lost a majority of the education and experience that prepares one for life after graduation. The Class of 2021 received little guidance and advice in the college application process that is usually provided throughout the in person school year. Being virtual for the school year also took away many of the senior year experiences and activities that students look forward to throughout high school such as football games, prom, and senior spirit week.
Salisbury gained a newfound perspective when the senior year experiences she’d always wanted were taken away. “I’d tell a younger me to just go with the flow and don’t get your heart set on anything specific happening or going well,” she said.
For Leon, the lack of the senior year experience made him wish he would’ve taken advantage of the opportunities while they were still available. “I would tell myself [a year ago] to be more involved online so that I can interact with all my friends and have a better experience of senior year overall.
COVID-19 brought death to hundreds of thousands of Americans and continues to take lives everyday. Where does it end?
With vaccines being distributed and given through the beginning months of 2021, the world is one step closer to bringing the pandemic to an end. “I think we will be without restrictions this fall, when almost everyone will be vaccinated,” Salisbury said.
“I believe that the idea of being in a pandemic won’t end until the end of 2021, but most restrictions will be lifted by June or July,” Leon said.