Quarantine vs. A Budding College Student

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Quarantine vs. A Budding College Student

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When I first heard of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was entering my third quarter of my senior year at Berks Catholic High School. I initially took this as an extended Easter break, finding what opportunities I could find before my inevitable return to school. Except I didn't return to school, no student did. I actually visited Duquesne University to find out more information on March 13th as students were moving out; nothing could prepare us for what was to come of this pandemic. During the last two weeks of March I did as any teenager would do during an extending break off school- absolute shenanigans. I got extremely into urban exploration (essentially exploring abandoned buildings) and loved finding these forgotten pieces of history around Pennsylvania. My friends and I would often go to the local skatepark and make acquaintance with fourteen-year-old teenage boys, as we hardly knew how to skate. About a week after the beginning of this break, I decided the best course of action would be to visit my friend Parker who lives on the other side of Pennsylvania. After driving four hours across the state, we began our beautiful adventure. From hiking, exploring abandoned places, and almost getting arrested, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Western Pennsylvania. Following this, I had the opportunity to pick up my now-girlfriend and take her across state lines to Maryland. She had never tried Wawa, which I deemed an indescribable experience and finding out the closest one was in Maryland, of course I decided that going there past midnight was the best decision. It was probably the best decision I had made all year as I am still with her, even through this pandemic. Returning home I had received the news that we were not to return to school. This sent me into a very confused mindset as I was unsure of what was to come. Then came spirals of misinformation and political divide of what this virus truly was. This was no help to the nation, let alone those of us at home who had no control over what was going on. It was April now, online school had begun for my high school- I did not attend a singular zoom class. A little over a month had passed and the nation came under racial turmoil after the killing of George Floyd. I was a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and had attending multiple protests. The most notable of these protests came to be the "D.C. Blackout". The night of May 31st, 2020 was that like none-other. I contacted my friend from Harrisburg earlier that day and asked her if she would travel to D.C. with me to participate in the protest; we had no idea what we were going into. We arrived in the D.C. area around 9:30 that evening, what turned to a night of complete anarchy. I have never seen or felt anything like I did that night and do not have the necessary words to describe what truly happened that night, or how some of the protesters that were arrested are still missing to this day. Three days following the blackout, I graduated high school. This was not your typical high school graduation with a huge ceremony filled with friends and relatives; this was a drive through by homeroom. Quite anticlimactic if you ask me. My life continued on after this and I now find myself in the midst of my spring semester at Duquesne University (pandemic still occurring of course). Mere words can not describe the true feelings and experiences I have gone through in the past year, I just ask that eventually this country ties up its loose ends.

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This item was submitted on February 12, 2021 by Saffrin Schaeffer using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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