Everything is Still Upside Down

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“Classroom” by cogdogblog is marked with CC0 1.0

Maggie Talbott-Malone, Writer

We’re a year into a pandemic. The world is in shambles.

In March 2020, I was sent home from school for what was said to be two weeks. Those 14 days were transformed into months and months. Initially, the possibility of an infinite summer was exciting. The thought didn’t scare me, not a single bit.

I was still in close contact with friends, I could pick up extra hours at my job, and I had every ounce of free time I could’ve ever wished for. Restaurants and beauty salons were closing and masks were required everywhere, but that didn’t bother me. Things would be back to normal within a few months.

Reflecting a year later, that was wishful thinking.

COVID-19’s rapid spread crushed any hope of normalcy. Students were forced to learn remotely. Local businesses struggle to stay afloat during a time when online shopping dominates. 

We’re a year into the pandemic. Motivation is lacking. 

I normally perform well in school, pouring in effort until my tasks are done. Over the course of the pandemic, that motivation slipped from my fingertips.

I sit atop my bed, my Chromebook on my lap. The time between classes is to be used for homework, as we’re told, but I rarely have the energy to do it. There have been several days when I’ve used my class time to scroll through social media apps, only vaguely aware of the class I’m supposed to be a part of. 

We’re a year into a pandemic. I’m scared. 

I remember I used to be able to go out in public without wearing masks or sanitizing. What a simple time. I never imagined that was something I would feel nostalgic for.

Walking through stores scares me. When did that change? I used to love shopping, but now my anxiety skyrockets after passing through the front door. I stay away from stores when I can, but when a shopping trip is absolutely necessary, I sanitize as I enter and keep my distance from other shoppers. I sanitize again sometime during my visit. Upon returning to my car, I then sanitize a third time. My anxiety has risen to an all-time high. 

When in-person learning became an option again, I was ecstatic; I enjoy school and learning. But walking into the building on my first day back, the fear struck me. So many familiar faces from ages ago surrounded me, but I felt cut off from them. It was like I was starting over.

We’re a year into the pandemic. I’m unhappy.

I wake up dreading to get out of bed. I know I have to jump straight into remote learning and try my hardest, but it’s more of a struggle every day. It’s hard to focus on statistics and physics when all my mind wants to investigate is how much longer we’ll need to go through this. I try to do things that pique my interest, but doing them without my friends or peers, is challenging. It seems as though I’m lacking a connection between myself and everyone else.

We’re a year into a pandemic. My mental health is suffering. 

I am not the only one.

Peers, teachers, coworkers, and family members are getting vaccinated and taking proper precautions. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.