Zaria Lewis, ’23
When the pandemic first began, I was in denial. The first case had just been reported in Onondaga County, and we had the option to either go to school or stay home. My parents wanted me to stay home. At first, I thought they were overreacting, but then later that same school day, students were sent home early anyways. This was when I started to think that maybe this virus was more serious than I thought, but I did not think that things would have changed as drastically as they have. It felt like one of those sci-fi movies – it didn’t feel real. People had to start wearing masks, I couldn’t see any of my friends or outside family members, and I was fine at first. But then the COVID-19 cases started going up and up, and the fear started to settle in. I had to pick up a few new hobbies over the summer just to stay busy, and they helped a little, but I still missed how things were before. I still do miss how things were before.
When school initially switched to remote for everybody last year, I hated it. I did not have a single Zoom meeting and it just felt like none of my teachers knew exactly what they were doing. I managed the assignments just fine, but you have no idea how good it felt when I turned in that last assignment before summer break officially began. I was finally at home doing what I wanted instead of doing school work.
When the school year began again, I was dreading it. I didn’t know how hybrid learning was going to work out and I was dreading the idea of having school work again. My mom began to feel nervous about me going to school due to the rising cases, so I switched to fully remote the week before the start of holiday break. Honestly, I started to prefer online classes. We get to sleep in longer, we have more time in between classes, and it is easier to stay organized when you’re not going back and forth. It’s not necessarily harder to learn over Zoom, but it is harder to pay attention. I’ve caught myself many times checking my phone or zoning out when I’m just sitting at my computer all day. There is a lot more work than there was last year, but it is manageable. I have also seen how all of my teachers have improved at teaching through the computer.
I do miss some things about being in-person though. I miss seeing all of my friends and being able to interact. I miss being able to not have to wear masks all of the time. But most of all, I just miss the normalcy of the way things used to be. We don’t get to do most of the activities that we used to be able to do like going to the movies, going out to restaurants, or just going over to other people’s houses. Things changed quickly and they changed drastically. It makes you wonder when things will ever go back to normal, if ever.
All I know is that when things actually do go back to normal, I will be more grateful than ever for everything that we took for granted. I will never complain about having to go back to school again on Monday and I will never again wish for school to vanish completely. While the stress can be unbearable at times, I would take that stress over not being able to see my friends and family any day.
Ian Delpha, ’23
This pandemic has had many negatives but also many positives. The best thing to come out of this pandemic would be having the opportunity to slow down a little bit and not always be on the go. Although I definitely miss doing all the activities that I could do before, during this time, I’ve been able to spend time with my family more often and be with close friends. I have also been able to practice on my own a lot for more sports and begin to workout more which has been very beneficial. The worst thing to come out of the pandemic would be that we are not able to play sports like we used to. Many sports have been modified to make them safer or even shut down, but I am very thankful that, for the most part, we are still able to play, but it still isn’t as great as it used to be. For example, I was happy that we were able to have our basketball season this year, but it just wasn’t the same without fans. The games used to get so much more exciting when you had your whole family and school there. Although, I thought the streaming of the games with the commentators was pretty cool.
During these tough times, I like to spend my free time mostly outside and playing many sports. I love going outside and playing basketball or lacrosse and, especially during these times, I have been able to play golf a lot. I have been playing golf all my life and I am happy that I enjoy the game. My friends and I spend a lot of time out on the course and many of my friends that never played have picked up the game, which I am glad about. We are able to stay spaced out and still have a great time. Also, I have got more into fishing which has been really fun. My friend and I have been able to go fishing a lot and it is a great thing to do during this pandemic. Also, I am able to have a lot more sleepovers with my friends. We have a pretty close friend group that has just been hanging out together throughout these times. We have been able to have fun even when times are tough in this world.
This last year has been challenging but a lot of good has come out of it too. Many of us have been able to grow as people and this shows that this pandemic has allowed us to begin to appreciate the things we could take for granted at times.
Mark Bratslavsky, ’23
“Dude let’s go! We’ve got an extra week of Spring Break!” were the last words that I heard my best friend say for the next six months. Although we talked on the phone and through Fortnite’s game chat, I didn’t know how long it would be until I saw him in person again. I never knew the ramifications that COVID-19 would have, and as our jokes became reality, my sense of normality faded away. There was nothing I could do. Life was gone. I felt as if I was no longer living. Time just kept ticking away.
Tyler Aitken, ’21
It is often said by coaches that in sports and in life, when you are faced with a stressful situation, you return to what you know best. When COVID-19 hit last March and changed everyone’s entire way of living, this idea held true for me too.
Since middle school, running has been my passion. I ran to compete, to have fun, and even to relax. So when all of a sudden I didn’t have school every day, that’s what I did. It was a safe activity I could do outside and alone, so it fit perfectly with the new safety guidelines that everyone had to get used to.
Running was a great way to fill time and get out of the house, but I still wanted more. I wanted a chance to test my limits.
The Table Rock Challenge is an annual race held at Clark Reservation. However, it’s not a typical race. I’d compare it most to the PACER test that we have to take in gym class. You have a certain amount of time to run from point to point, and the time gets shorter the more you run. You run as long as you can still beat the time, or until you drop out. There’s just one difference: instead of each leg of the race being the length of a basketball court, each leg of the race is 1.2 miles.
This year’s race was slightly different, as you had to run in your own neighborhood to maximize social distancing. Each runner had a computer signed into a Zoom meeting at their start and stop location, and could check in with times after each lap.
I had no idea what to expect, but I wasn’t running to win, I just wanted to have fun and see what I was capable of. I kept running every day, but now, I had something to look forward to.
The day of the race, a cool Saturday in late June, finally came. My dad and I woke up early to make sure I was all set, and soon enough, I was on my way with lap number one.
By the end of the day, I had covered over 27 miles. It wasn’t easy, but it was a lot of fun. Friends came throughout the day to cheer me on or run a lap with me. It was the most “normal” day I had experienced since school was cancelled.
Running has been a hobby of mine for a really long time, but I’m so glad it was able to help me through that first part of the pandemic.
Gabby Paparo, ’23
This past year with COVID-19 has been a complete rollercoaster of emotions. There are times I’m so upset with the universe for bringing this awful virus to us because of the people who have passed, the shutdown of stores/restaurants/schools, and not seeing family and friends, but it’s also given me a chance to spend time with myself and my family, and overall learn more about me. Spending time with yourself can be great at points, but a year is too long and causes me and others to feel extremely alone in this journey. Obviously getting to figure out who my true self is isn’t nearly as important as the health of the people. COVID-19 was probably the worst thing that’s happened to me and from what I’ve heard from everyone else, there are some pros, though mostly cons.