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My first memory of Covid-19 was in late December of 2019. I was sitting on my couch watching TV when I heard my dad in the other room talking to my mom about how the new "coronavirus" desiese was getting worse in China. I was shocked at first about what he was talking about, so I went into the next room to ask him what was going on. He explained to me how there was an epidemic going on in China, and how some people have died. It all seemed very new and since it was all the way in China I wasn't very concerned with it other than thinking that it must be scary for residents of China. Fast forward a few weeks when we get back to school, lots of kids in the hallways were making jokes about the disease that was spreading, and were saying things like, "Don't forget to use hand sanitizer cuz of corona." Up until mid march the jokes kept on running, and the epidemic in China became more and more of a big deal. Until the night before march 14, 2020 everything was still a joke, and the rumor of us doing online school from home was still a running joke. But on the night of march 13 we all got an email telling us that we'd be doing virtual school from home for the next two weeks. The following Monday we started online school, and we all thought it would just be for two weeks. I was up in my room all day, and we only got short breaks in between classes. The first week everyone seemed to enjoy it was we had to use zoom calls for our class periods. The second week of school everyone including myself started not liking the idea of virtual school as much. Even though we got to sleep in later, people were sick of sitting at a desk almost all day long. Soon enough they extended our time we would be doing school from home because of a pandemic for longer. The coronavirus had spread to the U.S. and most people rarely left the house except to go to the grocery store because everything was closed. Whenever my mom or dad would go to the store they would wear a mask and gloves to make sure they didn't catch any germs. Lots of other people did the same. By this time almost the entire country was in lockdown. It had grown into a full-blown pandemic; other countries like Italy we also bombarded with the panic of Covid-19. Everything was a complete disaster just by mid-april. I had no idea when we would be going back to school, or when things would return to normal. I still don't as a matter of fact. by this time I thought we'd go back in may, but we didn't. In the first couple weeks of may, just a few days before my 13th birthday, everyone at this point hated online school, it was dreaded by children across the country. This gradually got worse and worse, teenagers' mental heath was tanking by a landslide. Quarantine was now taking over my life completely. Most days I would sit in my room the entire day even on weekends since we couldn't go anywhere. Throughout June was probably the worst moth for my metal heath, and I think many others would agree. Saying we were bored would be an understatement; I wasn't depressed much like a quite a few of my other friends ,as far as I'm concerned, but it felt like all of our happiness and livelihood had been taken from us since what we started lockdown. Soon after, in July things started to open up again, the cases for covid-19 were getting lower(which was good), and people basically assumed quarantine was over. The nest month since things were opening up previously we all thought we would go back to school, but a few days before school was supposed to start we were informed that we wouldn't be going back, and we had to continue with online school. I was extremely disappointed, and I thought hopefully we'd go back by at least October. The following months through Christmas break we stayed in online school, and almost nothing happened. I spent my days the exact same as the day before I would sit in my room do school and then look on my phone or listen to music(mostly One Direction, The Beatles, and 80's music). My life became dark, boring, and quiet. By this time everyone was so fed up with quarantine, since we had been in lockdown for the past 9 months. Even Christmas felt different this year; usually I'm super excited and this year I almost didn't even care about the holiday's and I can't explain why. I'm currently writing this on January 7, 2021 at 9:05 pm. We've luckily gone back to school yesterday for the first time in ten months. There are plenty of safety precautions to make sure none of us get sick like: wearing a mask, social distancing( staying 6 feet away from people), and there are even certain ways to we have to walk around hallways and the campus to keep us in order. I can already feel a change in myself since we went back yesterday. It already feels like things are getting better now that we don't have to do virtual school with zoom calls for classes. I'm also really glad I get to see my friends, and hopefully make some new ones. If there's anything I've learned from being a part of the current pandemic it's that you can't give up or give in to other things going on with the world or even within your own life. No matter how tuff things you have to remember who you are and what you want to be. If anyone in the distant future is reading this I want them to know that, and how lucky they are to be apart of something as wonderful as life can be. I found myself more often than never longing for the past hoping for answers, only to find out the past is inside all of us, and even when the hardships of reality kick in you have to remember how amazing it is to get to experience something as rare and beautiful as life is. So don't take things for granted and appreciate every moment because you'll never know when something as mind-boggling as a world-wide pandemic will happen to you. Long story short never give up on your hopes and fantasies; it might just be the thing you'll need the most.

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This item was submitted on January 7, 2021 by Lauren Avedis using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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