A Class of 2020 Student's Covid Story

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A Class of 2020 Student's Covid Story

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When I was in the second grade, I remember my math teacher telling my whole class that we would be graduating high school in the year 2020. It seemed so long ago, like this far away land that didn't exist. We all smiled and chatted amongst ourselves about how 2020 was such a cool-sounding year and we liked having that year to look forward to. Elementary school became middle school which became high school and then it was my senior year all the sudden.

My high school has a tradition in which seniors paint some boulders behind our school with our class colors and have a barbecue. At senior barbecue, we complained about how we just couldn't wait 7 more months until prom and graduation, and how excited we were for them. If only we had known that none of those things would happen. I remember in March of 2020 going to Chicago away from my hometown of Baltimore to visit the college I'd decided on, and the news was a storm of talk about a virus called covid-19. My high school friends were blowing up my phone with texts telling me that we were off school for 2 weeks and how "awesome" this was. I remember having a gut feeling that this would not be "awesome."

Though everything virtually shut down from March to May, my 4 best friends from high school and I were luckily still able to have a somewhat normal summer safely; we went swimming in the lake by my house and camped and it forced us to actually get some exercise. I also was fortunate enough to still make some money over the summer at the childcare center I worked at. I was fortunate in those ways, but I think anyone would agree it just wasn't the same.

I remember being heartbroken about prom and graduation at first, until it hit me that this was a problem so much larger than Dulaney High School in Maryland. Bigger than the east coast, bigger than all of America. This was a virus affecting virtually everyone on the planet. That mindset is crucial to keeping everyone safe; your parties can wait. Your trip to Disney can wait. I knew my prom and graduation being sacrificed was for a greater good.

I've heard that your true character isn't how you act in your finest hour, but in your worst. I'd say COVID has become a identifier for that.

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This item was submitted on March 16, 2021 by Hannah Bellinger using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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