Hannah Fuchsberg, ’23
I remember on the last day of school before the shutdown, I was so certain that we would go back to school in two weeks. In my last period creative writing class that day, Mr. Phillips told me that he didn’t think we would come back until September. Somehow, he was right.
During shutdown, I had a lot of free time which I filled with new hobbies. I got more into reading and biking, and I taught myself how to play piano. Fortunately for me, my friend lives on my street and literally every day from March to August, we would bike together on the Erie Canal Trail. Even though a bike ride every day isn’t much, it helped me stay sane and motivated. It helped give a purpose to each day as it was a task I had to accomplish. Although there were a plethora of negative things that occurred from the pandemic, one very positive thing happened to me.
Before freshman year, I moved here from Texas. My best friend and I tried to FaceTime and call as much as we could, but we were both busy and it became very difficult to stay connected and we started to drift. But during the pandemic, neither of us had anything to do which gave us more time to talk to each other. Also, I was only communicating with people via FaceTime whether they lived five minutes away from me or across the country, so it didn’t even feel like a long-distance friendship anymore. We were able to do virtual movie nights and powerpoint nights and all of these things to hang out together via FaceTime and Zoom.
Lastly, the pandemic helped me realize what things are most important to me. When your whole world and sense of normalcy is taken away, it gives you time to think about what really matters to you. For me, I realized that I didn’t miss going to the mall or going out to dinner. I missed learning in school and seeing my friends. Also, in the very beginning, my parents didn’t want us leaving the house at all. That week or so of not even leaving my backyard was extremely difficult for me and I realized how much I cherish the outdoors and how much joy just taking a walk on my street brings me.
Trey Evans, ’23
This past year with the Coronavirus has been filled with losses and gains, but one loss that really brought me down through this pandemic was not seeing my grandparents. This really hit me when my grandpa came down with COVID-19 and all I could do was call him and not be there beside him. When this happened, I called him upwards of three times a day just to check in and let him know I was there for him through this tough time in his life. This was a huge loss for not only me but my grandma because she couldn’t even go see him when he was in so much pain.
This loss though did turn into a gain because I feel my family was never so in touch than when my grandfather was sick. Until then, I never called my grandpa so much (only maybe once a week), but now I try to call him and my grandma once a day. Also, through this, we now try to see them and eat dinner with them once a month or I go and spend a weekend with them. Another gain through this loss is that I’ve gotten to connect with my grandpa on a different level through sports. Sometimes I call him or he calls me to see what’s going on in one game or another. So even though this COVID-19 pandemic has brought loss, it has also brought many families together for the better. This is my experience through this past year.
Kai Brutsaert, ’23
It’s safe to say that this past year has been the weirdest year that any of us have ever experienced. This time last year (March 16 to be exact), J-D High School shut down and my world was flipped upside down. In the months that followed, every one of us had to learn how to cope with the strange new world we were living in, and are still living in. I never imagined it would last this long. In fact, I was excited to see school cancelled. I thought it would simply be a few-week-long extended Spring Break. But as the days continued on, I soon realized that things weren’t going to go back to normal. Of course, I wouldn’t have ever wanted the pandemic to happen, even if it did mean time off school. The numbers of deaths just kept climbing up, and with it, a barrage of depressing news was on my TV nightly. All of this paired with the fact that the only people I was allowed to see in person were my immediate family meant that last spring was a very challenging time.
In order to keep myself sane during the pandemic, I had to ensure that I stuck to a set schedule. This was something that my dad pushed hard, and I am grateful that he did. I made sure to plan out the time I woke up every morning and the time I allotted myself to do my school work. Furthermore, it was essential that I get some sort of exercise every day as otherwise I may never have left my house. The most important thing to keep me sane was keeping in contact with my friends. Though we couldn’t see each other in person, we still made sure to talk most days. Whether this was while playing Xbox, FaceTime, or just texting, I was always grateful to have people to talk to during the challenging time.
Katie DiStefano, ’23
The pandemic has had negative and positive impacts on me over this year. As we know, this was a life-changing event, and it doesn’t even feel like a year has gone by. A positive impact is that I got to reflect upon myself as a person. Some time alone gave me a chance to see how I could make improvements in my life. Some negatives were that school got a little more stressful, as we could not see our teachers in person, as well as sports being cancelled. I was looking forward to spring sports, but we were unable to have them due to the pandemic. It was also hard during holidays, as I was unable to see most of my family members, as well as hang out with friends, due to social distancing rules. Over this year, I was positively and negatively impacted.
Connie Zhang, ’23
When quarantine first started a year ago, all the things my classes needed to teach me went directly to Google Classroom. I remember being at a friend’s house playing board games when we all got a notification saying our Global 9 teacher had created a Google Classroom. That’s when we realized, “Oh my goodness, this is actually happening.” Classwork, quizzes, tests, and any interaction with anyone was only accessible through a screen.
I dance five days a week up to three to four hours a day, so when all my dance classes became remote and had to be held over Zoom, it was certainly difficult to dance in a five foot by five foot corner of your bedroom. Because we were already halfway through the year, we had already begun doing choreography for our annual June performance. It was interesting trying to put together a dance when everyone was alone and had no idea who was next to who and when (plus, we could barely hear the music). Once summer came, we started doing in-person classes once again. We would wear masks, sanitize, get our temperatures taken, and fill out a health-screening form everytime we attended a class. At first it seemed like a lot of work, but now it’s the “new normal.” Wearing masks while dancing can tire us out quickly since it’s harder to breathe, and it also doesn’t help that dance is one of the most high-risk activities during this pandemic. However, with bad usually comes good. After months of this type of dancing environment, my stamina had gradually increased without me even realizing it. I’ll go out for a run and not get tired as quickly as I usually would. Another positive is the mask covers up half of your face, so that’s a lot less makeup needed to put on for any performances we do (which is great because I’m terrible at makeup).
Even though COVID-19 has certainly negatively impacted millions in the world, we can always take the little positives there are to make our situation better together. Happy birthday COVID-19, happy… birthday.