One Year Later: Students Reflect on the Last 365 Days

The+aisles+of+Target+were+picked+through+a+year+ago+as+no+one+knew+what+would+happen+each+day.

DHS Press Staff

The aisles of Target were picked through a year ago as no one knew what would happen each day.

Calvin Mellor 

We like to think of hardship as inherently meaningful, as a lesson we are supposed to learn. I think the pandemic has taught me that sometimes the world is just unbearably cruel. Still, good things can come from awful struggles, and the last year is no exception.

The vacation from constant silent judgement by my peers during quarantine let me finally come out as bisexual, and embrace my real identity. It showed me the people that really care about me, and the things that I value most in life. It allowed me to take a break from the fakeness and drama of everyday government-mandated socialization in the artificial world of high school.

Maybe it is naive and insensitive of me to celebrate these relatively insignificant positives when this pandemic has left more than half a million people dead in the U.S. alone, and countless more without jobs or homes. But how else can I cope with those horrific realities, other than imbuing it with some sort of invented meaning?

Neena Peterson

If you’d told me a year ago that we would be stuck inside due to a pandemic for an entire year, I would’ve dismissed you as a desperate and slightly insane filmmaker and left it at that. However, it definitely seems like our lives have been taken from the plot of a sci-fi movie, and, selfishly, I’m not too mad about it. 

While allowing ourselves to mourn the loss of so many people in this country and throughout the world, I’m starting to realize that we can’t just sit around and wait for something to happen in life. The precious time and privileges given to us are not made to apathetically lounge around the house, but to contribute and make the world a better place in the face of terrors like this. 

Although I’m ashamed of my unquantifiable amount of lounging, and watching tv, and sleeping, the time in between was spent in valuable and slightly-maddening self reflection. I hate to admit it, but the truths I’ve discovered about myself are crazy and a bit terrifying to deal with at the moment. I guess we all have to learn about ourselves at some point, right? 

I still don’t know how to talk to people like a normal human being, and the outside world gives me even less comfort compared to my room than it did a year ago, but improvements come slowly and we should take advantage of the vulnerability of this time. To emerge back into the world and stay won’t be easy, but it’s what we all have to do: educate ourselves here and prepare to become the next generation of revolutionaries. 

Kevin Myers

The past year for me has been very much a mixed bag. Adjusting to the initial lockdown was incredibly difficult having just come off of my trip with the Dance Team to Florida for their annual competition. I had long been fairly shy and introverted, and I had felt that over the course of the Dance Season, and especially at that event, I had finally started to come out of my shell so to speak and share more of myself with the team that was always so friendly and fun to be with, while doing my favorite thing in the world, making videos. 

The drastic change from that moment to the lockdown was certainly a shock. Selfishly I felt quite frustrated with the world for ripping all of that away from my right when I finally felt a confidence around my peers I hadn’t had since I moved back to Virginia, my freshman year. Honestly it took until the Fall Election season months later before I was able to make my piece with the pandemic, or more accurately, distract myself with breaking news alerts about the latest polling data. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I have since retreated back to my old introverted ways, with almost a feeling of numbness to much of what happens around me, especially when it comes to school functions. Mentally, I graduated on March 11th, 2020, a phrase I likely plagiarized subconsciously from one of my peers as I’m hardly alone in this feeling. 

Objectively, I have been rather fortunate relative to many others, while my Grandmother and Aunt both contracted COVID-19 a few months back, but  they have largely recovered, and I haven’t yet lost anyone to the virus. In a sense, the only part of the pandemic that feels real to me is the masks, the social distancing, the isolation. Much of the death and destruction the pandemic has wreaked feels more like just a statistic on cable news than something tangible, because I have been quite fortunate. 

While I may have gone numb to much of the pandemic and high school, and adjusted to the current reality, that doesn’t mean I am indifferent to its continuation. I believe it is critical that we continue to abide by current preventative measures, and most importantly that everyone get vaccinated as soon as it is their turn. 

I would love nothing more than to return to the way things once were because I would like to be able to hug my friends again, and quite frankly the inability to read others emotions as a result of mask wearing makes me feel very uncomfortable. So my somewhat selfish plea to everyone, of all races, genders, sexualities, political ideologies, religions, is this: cooperate now, so this can all end soon, and most importantly, GET VACCINATED.

Caelan Jones

Reflecting on the past year of living through a pandemic, I learned so many things. I learned to appreciate every moment of life, and to not take my life or anyone whom I care fors life for granted. I’ve learned to count my blessings. Though so much has been taken from me and so many other people, I have also gained so much knowledge and have given so many experiences that I otherwise would not have gotten. Getting to Zoom with influential people from across the nation and the world has been such a unique experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. I think the hardest part of going through Covid was worrying about my family, and especially my grandma. I am always around my grandmas as she lives 1 mile away from me. My biggest worry was that she would be lonely or struggling, but I wouldn’t be able to help in fear of possibly infecting her or others around her. There have been highs, there have been lows, but I have gotten through it, and it has made me to be the person that I am today.

Katie Ryan

This past year has been a learning experience for me. A year ago when I learned we would have two weeks off I was so excited to watch Netflix all day and bake cakes. However, I learned that doing that gets old very quickly. However, in the bulk of the pandemic I have had a lot more time with my parents, it gave me an opportunity to learn more about them, about how things were like when they were growing up. I do not know why I am very interested to hear their experiences. Which was very eye opening, believe it or not they did not have the internet in the 80s and had to look in an encyclopedia. In the pandemic I also learned how to drive, and play more card games, which are very underrated. 

Although I have learned a lot I missed out on time with my Grandparents, and the traditions of holidays. Even though it was the worst of times for America it was also the best of times. I think about early quarantine a lot going on walks with my dad while listening to music, watching Netflix, annoying my mom, not caring what time I go to bed, and of course the smell of spring in the air. It was a simple time but also a complex time. Luckily, my softball team was not much impacted by the pandemic so we could still play tournaments through the summer, and that was really incredible and I am very much thankful for softball and still going to other states during the pandemic. Now, I am pretty much sick of the pandemic, I really just want to go to a Nationals game more than anything. But I am thankful because my grandparents got vaccinated now I can finally see them. 

Michael Godek

I have learned that you can never be truly prepared for your life to be drastically changed the way it did. It is nearly impossible to plan out your future with detail. It is important to live in the moment because for 600,000 Americans it was their last.  It is nice to know that normalcy is coming back but I think to myself what would be different if the pandemic never happened, that we did come back to school after spring break.