The sudden rapid spread of COVID seemed to shut down the entire world in March 2020. The pandemic has changed everyone’s lives in one way or another. Now a year later, students and staff have taken some time to reflect on the past year.
An important part of protecting the health and safety of our community has been social distancing, which has prevented many from seeing others as often as they would like.
“I’ve been lucky enough not to face any major losses. The worst part for me has been the fact that I can’t see my friends or family, and the loneliness that comes with that,” said senior Katherine Horne.
“The worst part is probably the pain this virus has caused, especially at first when people could not visit loved ones. It makes it tough to recover without that closure,” said science teacher Jeffrey Foster.
Senior Jolie Tran also misses the opportunity to socialize with others.
“The hardest part about the pandemic has been the loss of connections with people we used to interact with every day,” explained Tran.
Despite the stress and anxiety the pandemic has caused, not all has been bad. Seniors Tana Pinthapataya and Francesca Cotroneo have enjoyed having the time to connect with family and friends from the safety of their homes.
“The pandemic had affected me in a positive way by having me spend more time with my family,” said Pinthapataya. “Before the pandemic I was very independent and did pretty much everything by myself; now that we’ve been in quarantine for almost a year, my family and I created such a strong bond together and even added to the family by getting a puppy.”
“One positive aspect of COVID is being able to easily reconnect with old friends virtually,” added Cotroneo.
The transition to online learning has presented its own challenges.
“COVID has made it harder to learn in school because we rarely see our teachers and it’s harder to ask questions,” said senior Tiffany Leung.
“The greatest loss has probably been losing the opportunity to get to know my classmates better, and not making new friends like we usually do during the school year,” said junior Sofia Palau.
Teachers felt similarly, regretting the missed opportunity to connect with students.
“The greatest loss has been the relationships with students because it helps with the academics. It’s the joy of being a teacher seeing young adults and their progression throughout the year,” said Spanish teacher Candice Tigerman.
However, distance learning has freed up some time for students, who now have to stay home instead of hanging out with friends after school or attending sports practices. Some have used the extra time to focus on self growth, live in the moment, and, according to junior Amaya Davis, “appreciate the smaller things in my life.”
“Although progress feels slow, it is still progress. Many have felt the world came to a stop. I felt the same, and felt that I wasn’t improving in my academics and hobbies. However, looking back to a year ago, I have improved in ways that I have never noticed,” explained junior Gladys Au.
“The most important lesson I’ve learned from quarantine is that I can’t take back the time that I lost. It shows how we should take advantage of the time we’re given and live our best lives,” said junior Marissa Chan.
In addition to the loss of human connection and the ability to live as we once did, the shortage and lack of supplies has revealed the worst in some people.
“All tangible losses aside, I’ve been really bummed to see the selfishness this pandemic has brought out in people. From hoarding supplies to disregarding the health of one’s neighbor, it has been hard to see what we do as a people group when the chips are down,” said history teacher Jason Marlis.
Science teacher Silvia Perri has been appreciative of the extra time to learn more about important social issues happening around the country and in the world.
“The positive aspect of last year is that it allows me to have time to reflect, and not only to reflect on personal issues but also social issues,” said Perri.
With the increase of concerns surrounding health and protecting the health of those around us, Assistant Nurse Manager Emily Johansen likes that there is more focus on taking care of each other and ourselves.
“Another important lesson is that we must treat our bodies and health better because we are seeing now that comorbidities like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and lung disease have a huge impact on how your body can respond to and fight certain illnesses,” said Johansen.
Many have found it difficult to stay motivated while being isolated at home.
“The worst part of this pandemic was motivation. My greatest loss was motivation and this was also the most difficult challenge,” said junior Jenny Tran.
“The worst part was all the missed opportunities and experiences. The most difficult challenge was staying positive while stuck at home,” said freshman Sofie Peltola.
In reflection, several felt that before the pandemic they had been taking many things in their lives for granted.
“A positive thing I’ve learned over quarantine is to not take things for granted because I would have never guessed that we wouldn’t have school and the world would become like this,” said sophomore Laurie Chow.
“Being in quarantine this long has urged me to consider the normal life things that I had taken for granted,” said junior Charlotte Caistor.
The past year certainly hasn’t been easy. However, despite all of the dark clouds from the pandemic, many have found some silver linings. We have learned to enjoy the little things in life and when things hopefully return to normal soon, we will all be much more appreciative of the time we can spend with loved ones and the opportunity to experience life as we once knew it.