Ian McIntyre, ’23
After what seems like just yesterday, it is the one year “anniversary” of school shutting down due to COVID-19. I will never forget the day the news broke out in the classroom and people bolted for the doors after hearing about the first case. There was a sense of fear but also excitement as people yelled, “See you in two weeks!” Little did we know that it would be almost six months until we would be back in school again. Over the course of quarantine and most of the summer, I learned one thing: don’t take anything for granted. I couldn’t see my grandparents anymore, I couldn’t see my friends anymore, I couldn’t play lacrosse or do any kind of sport anymore and, to be honest, it really took a toll on me. I found myself in a state of not knowing what to do. The days just kept repeating themselves with no change in schedule. Wake up, eat breakfast, do some school work, eat lunch, go on a walk, eat dinner, talk to my friends and family on the phone, and then sleep. Repeat.
Once mid-May rolled around and the weather got warmer, I was able to see my grandparents at a distance outside. I will never forget the day my grandpa came over and we just talked. No phones, no TV, just conversation. It was really, really nice to do. After two months of my friends and I only playing video games and not seeing each other in person, we decided to head out to the golf course and try it out. It was a hot mess the first time, but the fact that we were all laughing with one another while blasting music in the carts was a great change of pace. After that we all bought season passes and were dedicated to getting better. I’d say we golfed three times a week for the whole summer. It really saved my summer in a way because we couldn’t do anything else. In about mid-August, club lacrosse began to start up again. I hadn’t wanted to go down to New Jersey at 8 a.m. this bad in a while. The sense of competition was back and I wanted to play like never before. My team only played in two tournaments, but those two were the hardest we’ve ever played in our lives. Going without the sport for so long made me realize how much I love it. School rolled back around mid-September and I loved seeing all the people I didn’t see over the summer. Hopefully we will be back four or five days a week soon.
Meghan Culligan, ’23
If I had known that the pandemic was coming, is there anything I would do differently? Of course, I would have tried to prepare myself better. I would have done anything I could to make my experience different from what it was. But how do you prepare yourself for what seems to be like an infinity of isolation? Of wondering when things will get back to normal, or if they ever will? I would have hugged my friends and family more often. I would have enjoyed the little things like hearing the sound of my friend’s laughter, or how it felt to walk into an air conditioned store after a hot day. I even would have appreciated the things in life that I thought were inconveniences, like going to the store. I guess you can’t fully prepare for or fully comprehend anything that is as detrimental and life-changing as the pandemic. Happy birthday COVID-19!
In all honesty, it doesn’t seem like it has been a full year since the pandemic started. Luckily, my family has been fortunate to not have anyone who’s been positive for the virus. Now, most of my family has the vaccine except for myself. When the pandemic first started, I was worried that it would affect my summer. I was okay with how school was being executed because it was just chaotic and a lot less work than usual. This led me to have a very easy finish to the school year. When summer started we went to Lake Ontario where we have a small place. There were zero cases near us and thankfully it felt like a safe place. This led to me having a normal summer. However, when I returned to school, it was very hard to grasp certain concepts and understand the material like I usually would. The reason for this is what happened at the end of the last school year. I believe that it was detrimental to my base knowledge for this year. To occupy me, I had to make a few sacrifices like using my phone less and not having tempting activities around me. This made me more focused and then it allowed me to be able to clean up my usual bad habits like eating junk food and not exercising. With cross country, it gave me something that I could progressively work towards. Overall, it has been a hard year for everyone but we are persevering through it.
Michael Carter, ’24
So today marks one year since the pandemic made school close. This caused so much change, not just for me, but for everyone. I stopped talking to a lot of people because I couldn’t talk to them in school and I’ve heard so many stories similar to that. I missed a lot of stuff in 8th grade that I was looking forward to. Everyone I knew was excited for the Darien Lake trip, but it was cancelled. But more than anything, the graduation thing was the main thing I was looking forward to. I had so many cool teachers that I will never forget and memories I made in their classes that I won’t forget either.
My time with the pandemic was surprisingly easy, but there were a lot of hard things about it too. Getting used to doing work at home was weird. But I still got used to it. And the summer was even worse because my family and I missed a lot of cool trips. But I still had a lot of fun with friends and my family.
But when high school came around, I was scared, and sad. I was looking forward to having a normal freshman year, but it sucks that we didn’t have one. I’m really looking forward to when we don’t have to wear masks in school. I am happy that a lot of kids are coming to school though. I’ve seen so many friends that I haven’t seen or talked to ever since the pandemic hit. When you think about it, it doesn’t seem that long, but it really is. I just hope that this mess well end soon.
Joanna Meskos, ’23
Looking back on the past year of COVID-19, lots of elements of daily life have changed, but throughout the whole thing I learned lots about myself and found ways to keep busy while also doing my best to keep everyone around me safe.
The most negative impact of the past year has been limited interaction with friends which has been hard because even when things began opening up more, we all wanted to hang out with friends, but didn’t want to put anyone’s health at risk. Not being able to experience this time of our teenage years to its fullest was difficult especially during the summer months.
I feel as though I was positively impacted in other ways as well. I got to figure out more ways to keep busy and discover many of my favorite shows such as Gossip Girl, You, and The Vampire Diaries which I binge-watched in the depths of quarantine. I also thought it was fun to participate in the quarantine trends like making tie-dye shirts and making TikToks with my siblings. There are definitely good things that came out of this pandemic like the immense amount of appreciation we will have for simple things like eating out at restaurants, traveling, and seeing friends once the virus is in our history.