Carly Branagan, ’23
Simply an extended break. I, and many other students, cheered during second period when we heard that a case had reached Onondaga County; we would be out for another week of school. Although it’s to be expected (students being happy about having a longer break), it still feels as though we should have known; been less than our typical selfish selves, not considering the consequences that this seemingly small and far away thing would have on us, on everything. I was one of the lucky students who got to make it to our last day of normal school, got to see my friends and teachers that one last, memorable time. I remember going to the store after with my mom, getting food and water. It felt like we were in a survival game. Only a game. I thought my mom was crazy for even having the slightest worry and told her that her fears of this lasting months or years was paranoia, and that we’d be back in no time.
A year later, and here we are. 2.66 million dead.
Last year’s spring, as it does, brought new life and gave birth to a new type of school: all online. I managed to do my work, attend my classes. At the time I wasn’t extremely bothered. But, by the arrival of summer, I was tired and worn from the foreign and headache-inducing online school. I didn’t want to think about our new reality. The early summer months went quickly, all the days spent at home in bed seamlessly blending together, unable to see my friends. Thankfully, during late summer, my parents’ fears eased up, and I was able to see friends from the signature six feet apart. It helped my health immensely and my mood changed, which my parents were thrilled to see.
But with summer comes fall. Fully online, again, this time for the entire year. Some aspects of online aren’t too bad; I get to sleep in until nearly 7:40 a.m., can eat when I please, don’t have to ask to use the bathroom, can wear whatever I want and haven’t the slightest bit of care, and can be in the comfort of my own home. That should be enough, right? I am able to learn well online, get the help I need, and complete my work well and on time. But, as much as I claim to dislike social situations and having to talk at school all day, I miss it. I miss lunch with my friends and talking in the hallway with somebody while we walk to class, studying for the quiz of the day. I miss my teachers telling us to talk to our partners and Mr. Gasparini smiling as we all walk into school. I miss talking with my friends and being too loud in the library. I miss P.E. class and playing dodgeball, my homeroom, the loud buses. I miss everything.
This year, my health has reached an all-time low. Finding motivation for school is a constant struggle. Teachers and staff try to understand the best they can, but it is a uniquely student experience that bonds every one of our classmates together, and can’t be understood by looking through a glass or by examination. I am scared. For my parents, friends, for myself. Looking back, I can’t believe how much I took for granted. I hope that this will be my last anniversary letter to COVID-19, and that in a year, it will be only a painful memory.
Michael Meskos, ’23
I have been negatively affected by the pandemic because school has been a lot harder with less people in class and having to use Zoom. I have been positively affected because I have become more independent and self-motivated. I think the worst thing to come out of the past year has been the stress put on everybody due to the shift to a new way of life. I think the best thing to come out of this pandemic is the fact that technology can bring people together and make life a lot easier for a lot of people. I was able to motivate myself for school by always staying on top of my work and never letting myself get too stressed out and overworked. If I knew the pandemic was coming, I would’ve thought of more positive ways to spend my time, because I always found myself doing nothing and being bored a lot of the time. I really miss being able to socialize with my friends and classmates in school because I have always enjoyed the social aspect of school.
Fallon Coyle, ’23
As we have reached the one-year anniversary of the start of the worldwide pandemic, it is only evident that everyone is reflecting on their year. From two-week quarantines to finally seeing your friends and family for the first time since last year, COVID-19 has affected everything and everyone. The permanent changes that COVID-19 has made in our world affect us everyday. From little things like washing your hands to bigger things like death, COVID-19 has had such a huge impact on us individually and on our society. For me, coronavirus made me responsible and made me mature quickly within the year. Having a family member that is high-risk during these times is scary. When all of your friends are hanging out and you want to go, you also have to remember you want your family member to be safe. Even though COVID-19 was mostly negative, it taught me selflessness and maturity. It reminded everyone that the world doesn’t revolve around them.
Isaiah Steinberg, ’23
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected my life like it has done to everyone, but I have a different take. Contrary to popular belief, the pandemic has actually increased my productivity. I find that with extra time off on remote school days and Wednesdays, I am able to do more extracurricular activities that enrich my learning experience. I’ve been able to get more involved because I simply have more time away from school. However, being isolated from others has definitely taken a toll on me, and I can’t wait to return to my favorite activities, especially with friends and family.
Rami Al-Mudamgha, ’24
One year since the shutdown feels like a long time, doesn’t it? For me, the shutdown has just felt boring. I didn’t play any sports before the pandemic, so my life didn’t change in that aspect. I wasn’t in any clubs, so that didn’t affect me either. I did go to guitar lessons before, but at that point, I wasn’t enjoying it anymore, so the coronavirus actually improved my life in that regard. Really the most major thing to come out of the pandemic was just a looming sense of boredom, especially this winter. At least in the spring/summer I could sit outside, but being stuck inside in miserable CNY weather didn’t exactly improve my mental health.
But let’s not talk about all the negatives here. There have been some positives, at least for me. I’m definitely in better shape than I was this time last year. Being stuck inside your house with a bunch of exercise equipment and nothing better to do will do that to you. And even now, when things are mostly open, I still keep on keeping on with my very basic exercise routine. And the exercise has certainly helped my mental health. Who would’ve thought doing things would make you feel better? But to finish this little editorial, I am excited to go back to school more and to see my friends who I haven’t seen in-person for over a year. And if this does get accepted and read by the whole school: have a nice rest of the school year and keep on trucking.