These are weekly emails I wrote to my brother Gil in Brewer, Maine and sister Barbara in Naperville, IL during the height of the 2020 pandemic lockdown, to describe to them our experiences. I am also enclosing a photo of my daughter, Olivia -- a screenshot from a Good Morning America broadcast showing her wheeling a patient into the emergency department at Maimonides Hospital.
The Covid-19 Pandemic was a hard time for everyone. People were sick, out of work, losing loved ones, and going through several other mental and physical health problems. However, we also had a lot of time on our hands during the pandemic, and my family took the as the perfect opportunity to bond. During the pandemic, we spent a lot of time together, we would paint, talk, watch movies, play games, basically anything we could do get together. This gave me the chance to grow closer with my family during a hard time and I really cherish the time we spend together. .
My experience living during COVID 19 was unforeseen. It was my senior year of high school during the year of 2020 when I first heard of the term "Coronavirus." Being a student athlete at this stage of my life, I was looking forward to several upcoming events, such as Prom, my last outdoor track and field season competing as a distance runner, and graduation. When March 2020 arrived, everything came to an abrupt change for the worse. I suddenly found out that all of the current classes I was taking was forced to be online. The outdoor track and field season I was training for with my teammates and all of the goals that I set for myself were abandoned. The graduation I was looking forward to was held on a pre recorded video instead of a traditional in person setting.
What I have learned from the pandemic is that some things will not go as planned, no matter how much time and devotion goes into a particular event. Telling this story is important to me because it can let other future generations acknowledge what happened during these uncertain times and what things can be prevented from happening later on.
The item that I am submitting describes my life as a student throughout my senior year of high school toward my first year of college. I emphasized the feeling of being alone and dealing with the college on a fully virtual level. As months passed it was important to validate the experience and the growth from being in an online setting to an in-person setting.
The pandemic has not only been a devastating experience but a time of reflection.
Covid has affected everyone by the way you live your everyday life. Covid has affected New york city in many different ways , For example covid affected business to close down months including schools . Schools having to go remote . Another way New york city has been affected by the transit , The transit systems like the trains ,buses and commuter rail and ferries as a result to this the transportation has plummeted . For the subways in New York City it went down 90 percent and the buses went down 75 percent. The reason for this happening is people in quarantine and not going to work since some are working from home .
Covid has affected health care workers. For example health care workers like doctors and nurses are around people who have it so they are more prone to get it. .This pandemic caused a lot of changes in the world. It caused everyone to be less social and not go out as much as it caused us to wear masks everywhere. It also caused a lot of people mental and emotional health to go down. For example there’s been a lot of social isolation which caused families to not be able to see each other as often. COVID-19 has impacted social mobility on child care cost and for families school dropout rate has increased due to fear of getting Covid. COVID-19 especially affected families due to not having jobs or working from home or being put on unemployment there’s been a big impact of Covid on families and family relationships creating a lot of tension and feeling depressed or not being united together.
These pandemic parts of the population in different situations continue to affect people living in poverty situations with older people and disabilities. A lot of people have been put on unemployment and not being able to pay the rent. Covid has caused a lot of deaths and people could not be able to bury their loved ones. During The beginning of the year when the Pandemic was occurring depending on the situation of others some people were probably affected mentally Health care was provided to those who really needed it due to people not being able to pay for it and The state of new york lost money as well , It affected relationships and people got help by going therapy and staying connected to people . This pandemic affected many people personally. Covid has affected everyone's plan including travel because there's been travel bans and going to the airport has a lot of restrictions. A Lot of businesses are closing down to this pandemic by not giving income . Due to health care a lot of pregnant women had very high dress levels that affected their pregnancy . Which caused health care workers to be very aware of what was going on . Their risking their own lives to help us and young teens and kids were not able to fully able to enjoy the success of completing in graduating either high school such as prom or etc.it affected everyone's life and still is . This has caused a lot of stress and tension but has allowed people to be stronger in a sense and to appreciate the little things in life . Covid 19 has caused many hardships including loss of jobs . Some questions that still remain on this subject would be , When are things going back to normal ?, When is the vaccine coming out to prevent this ? When will this end ?. A message of hope i would say is everything will get better with time. The productivity has been slow due to employment going down ,People losing jobs . my personal experience with covid has become a learning experience . For example this pandemic has showed me to not take things for granted .
Yesteryear is the product of pent up anxiety, confusion, loss, depression and hopelessness, painted in 2022. It is how I would describe life before and after Covid-19. Separated into two pieces the anterior canvas is multicolored, to represent the carefree state of life. It can represents the high points in my life pre-pandemic, inclusive of freedom and family. The oil protrudes in some parts and is flat in others signifying the highs and lows of everyday life. The posterior canvas is quite the opposite if viewed closely, some of the colors used in the painting above have been covered in dark colors. It is smooth to the touch. No high points in this instance. All lows. Dreary. Dark. The red bordering both , represents the vitality of human nature. At the top it was uncontrolled, bleeding into all other aspects of life pre-Covid. As it travels south, it becomes thinner, more rigid, more linear. It then starts to completely disappear and despair has taken its place.
When the Covid-19 outbreak first started in New York, it was unfortunate that all of my family was positive. In March 2020, after someone in New York was diagnosed positive, my family did not want me to go out and during that time I was in high school and working part-time. My family including most relatives also started not to work and quarantined at home. One day, one of my aunts came to my house with a cold and a cough, but we didn't think much of it because she just got the flu shot so we figured it might be the aftermath of the shot. After two or three days, we started to have different symptoms. I remember I started with a sore throat, a headache, a fever, and then lost my sense of taste and smell. My relatives also showed different degrees of symptoms, and my grandma had the most severe symptoms. She first had a sore throat, a cold, and a low-grade fever, and then she kept having diarrhea and couldn't eat which caused her to lose almost 10 pounds in just one week. During that time, one of my aunts came to take care of my grandma. Throughout the duration of my grandma being ill my aunt was running on only a few hours of sleep per day since she had to keep an eye over my grandma. I remember that the hospitals in New York were full at that time, many patients died without receiving treatment, and refrigerated trucks were parked outside the hospital to store the dead bodies of patients. The TV news also showed that many people were protesting against the announcement of masks being mandatory when going out. None of them believed that Covid-19 would be serious enough to kill people, and this frustrated me, making me feel the urge to express my feelings towards how serious this virus is. I saw that my grandma's condition was getting worse and worse. We also thought about calling an ambulance to take her to the hospital, but we were afraid that we would not get treatment and we would not be able to visit the hospital. We felt very hopeless. We were on the last straw, thus we were all discussing that if grandma didn't show any signs of improvement the next day, our last resort is to have my grandma sent to the hospital. As a result, the following day, my grandma started to eat and did not continue to have a fever, and her condition began to improve. Overall, Covid-19 has brought my family a lot of distress and I am glad that Covid-19 has started to settle and everything is slowly getting back to normal again.
September 24th 2021. It was just another normal day in the new pandemic experience, most of my day was spent on Zoom doing online classes for about four hours of the day. Today was different because I had an orthodontist appointment to finally have my braces removed after about 2.5 years of them on. As almost everyone else, I was finally excited to have my braces taken off and actually see my new smile. So after my 2 classes my mom drove me to the orthodontist and left me in the office to go run other errands. After leaving to do so, I had gotten my braces remove in what was really fast time compared to what I had envisioned. So when I had finished up and scheduled a future appointment for my retainer fitting I called my mom to see when she was going to pick me up and no response. I left a message and then called my dad. Again no response. I texted him and he said, “(Name) come home by bus. Mom had to go” I didn’t think much of it so I took the bus home. After I got home I called out in the house and had no response so I walked in normally, taking off my shoes and sweater. I walked into my parents bedroom and seen my parents on the bed. My mom almost curled up teary eyed and tissues next to her. My dad sitting on the edge of the bed next to her holding the tissue box. Obviously with the circumstances of that time, my heart sunk thinking someone died. COVID-19 is known to be fairly hard on the geriatric population so when my grandma from my mothers side had gotten it the night before, we were all on edge. My mom didn’t say a word, so my dad took me outside the room and said something. I still to this day can’t recall what he was saying and I just walked away. To this day I’ve been afraid to ask of the specifics, all I know was that she was alone in the hospital because of the country she was in had strict hospital visitation policies. I still don’t know how to deal with these emotions because honestly she was the person I loved the most second to my mother. She helped raise me and made me into the man I am today.
Thank You وداد
My Junior year at Midwood High School took an expected turn as a national emergency was declared on March 13, 2020. I remember watching the news with my mother, excited to see I would have two weeks off from school. My mother and I would both be home as all non-essential businesses moved to remote or closed down indefinitely. I immediately messaged my friends about the two week break, planning to play video games all day long. We spent those two weeks staying up late as if it was an extended spring break. Little did I know that those two weeks would turn into months of isolation, living in fear of going into the outside world. I feared for my father as he was a registered nurse at Woodhull Hospital. Not only did he have to go outside everyday for work, but he would be face to face with patients, many sick and dying from this new virus that took the world by surprise. There was no vaccine for almost an entire year, so all he could rely on were masks, gloves, face shields and hair nets. My father and many other medical workers were needed overtime to deal with the immense amount of patients coming in everyday. As he came home from work my mother would bring his clothes and leave them by our front door. I worried for him at work as I feared he could get this virus that we were still learning about. Thankfully he never got sick with Covid-19 during the early pandemic, and with the new vaccines in development many of our fears were put to rest. After almost two months of not having any classes we were introduced to remote learning through zoom and google classroom. It was a very new experience for my fellow classmates and I, but it was nice not having to leave your bed to go to class for a while. However that relief of not waking up early to go to class turned into yearning to go to school and seeing my friends. Waking up every morning to see a screen filled with blank profile pictures with names made me feel very lonesome. I would never imagine missing going to school, but it was something that I had taken for granted. In my senior year of high school there was the option for hybrid learning which I was very excited about, but I'd later find out that there would only be rows of desks set up in my school gyms we used for physical education. It wouldn't be the everyday schedule of switching classes and seeing my friends in the hallways and library. I ended up doing another year of remote learning which was very draining but I managed to do well in all my classes with nothing else to do. Unfortunately I did not have a prom or senior trip, but I was very lucky to have an in person graduation and see all of the people I once saw everyday again. This story of the pandemic is very significant to me as it taught me to never take things for granted as everything can change in a moments notice. The things I'd known as my everyday routine of school and hanging out became a distant memory for a long time until numbers and fears of the virus fell. Being able to go to campus now and have a regular life again is something I will now cherish forever. It is still somewhat hard to socialize again after being isolated for so long, but I have made some friends along the way and I look forward to all the memories that await me in the future.
During our everyday lives, we tend to lose so much of our time that we'd like to spend doing things we enjoy such as spending time with family or even just doing hobbies. For example, when you have to work all week you usually spend at least half your weekend catching up on personal chores. During the Covid-19 Pandemic, my family and I were able to get back some of the time we had been spending at school and work, we were able to spend time together instead. We were able to have movie nights, game nights, and meals at the table, and we just enjoyed being together overall. This is so important to me because I value every second I spend with my loved ones, and I was glad we really got a chance to bond during a very stressful time for everyone.
My sister, Heidi, passed away in Washington, DC, on March 23, 2020. I wasn’t allowed to be with her when she died. My sister was my best friend. I was so lost. Her children, Significant other, my mother, her best friend, and I couldn’t have a funeral for her because of the rules put into place for Covid. So, we could not have a memorial for her till and year and four months later. At the same time, everything began to shut down. My husband works for the NYPD; I was terrified of him getting sick and losing him. Every day after he left for work, I would fall on the floor and break down in tears. I live next to a nursing home facility on Beach 119th St. in Rockaway Park. At this time, I would stare out my windows to look at the ocean to try to calm myself. For weeks, I would see out the right side of my windows and the ambulances and medical examiner vans showing up non-stop to the nursing home for ten days. Bodies were being taken out morning, noon, and night. The flashing red lights signaled that my mental health was in danger. I felt myself crashing many times. I was devasted. To this day, I carry so much internal trauma, I don’t know if I’ll ever recover. I hate this world and the cruel people in it. People have become so ugly because of Covid. I doubt I’ll ever be able to escape the mental anguish that lives in my soul...
This is one of many reflective exercises I’ve had to do regarding the pandemic experience. At this point, I've nearly run out of creative ways to spin my quarantine (and post lock down) stories. Instead, I'll just share little bits of the first reflections I chronicled; I kept a journal for about a year and a half. I began writing on the 25th day of total isolation. Here are seven tidbits:
My mood: anxious and grouchy
My music: BEYONCE, random 80’s stuff (thanks, dad), Lottery by KCamp
We ate an orange! A single orange segment for each of us. Because nobody is risking their life to restock fresh fruit.
I cracked today. My brain cells shattered from the excessive screen time.
My music: Eteko by Mestre Dangui ft. Fabregas, Raggamuffin by Koffee
My attitude: crap
My parents and I share a mutual dislike of each other and also of vacuums
I’m very concerned that I don’t feel a need to go outside at all. Everyone is freaking out about the lack of outdoor time and socialization, but I’m doing okay. And so, for that reason, I feel guilty and worried. I’m a mutant, I can survive two months indoors without respite. S [my sister] is surprised I’m not a video gamer. I’m surprised I’m not dead from the lack of fresh air, exercise and vitamin D. Never mind that, E [my little brother] is my vitamin D, my sunshine.
I BROKE QUARANTINE (kinda). I WENT IN THE CAR FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE MARCH 9th (Today it’s June 15th). I ALSO WENT INSIDE TRADER JOE’S. I wore two masks and one glove. Mom and I waited in a line with yellow markers for distancing. I was afraid. We were only allowed one wagon, but we filled it up with lots of stuff. Historic Day.
***After Day #130, I abandoned my system of marking the days and just wrote the date.
My dad got corona. Sweet lord in heaven if one cough escapes my throat... Still thinking about how Elon Musk’s baby’s name is a bunch of numbers. Weird to think that in ten years this will all be in the history books. Why would I need to learn history if I am history dang it. My friend and I are watching “Avatar the Last Airbender.” We chat via Netflix Party and face time simultaneously to see each other's reactions and expressions #quarantinestyle
Maybe if quarantine lasts three weeks, we’ll have spring break before we go back to class, I wistfully think to myself.
It’s already March 13th of 2020, but the air is still nippy and my mom still makes me wear that atrocious parka. She’s been hearing all these reports about the coronavirus, and I think it’s releasing her inner germaphobe.
My school day finishes off like any other, except I have to stay behind for AP Biology review, like who has review two months before an exam? Following an hour full of practice problems, workbooks, and texting my friends under my desk, it’s finally time to go home. The talk of the school is if Xaverian plans on closing for quarantine, following the footsteps of nearly every other Catholic school in the city.
But I don’t even take two steps out of my desk before my iPad pings with an email. One by one, we all find out that Xaverian will be closed for the foreseeable future, and that online learning will commence on Monday. I picture using this new interface, Zoom, for class. A feeling of exhilaration grows in my chest. I can already picture it: no uniforms, and no restrictions—just a newfound capacity for freedom.
Our group parades towards the lockers, gossiping while packing up our books and putting on our coats. The moment doesn’t feel real; it feels like I’m floating, suspended in the joyful innocence of being a high school senior. With our navy and khaki skirts swishing around our legs, knees exposed to the frigid air, my three friends and I begin the trek home through Bay Ridge, blissfully ignorant to the fact that it would be the very last time we ever put those uniforms back on, or that it would be three months before we saw each other next.
How naïve we were walking home that day, discussing how fun and convenient online learning would be. We chat about prom dress shopping, boys, and how funny it would be to take AP exams online—not realizing that prom would be canceled, and that we would take those exams online. It was my last day of normal, the last day before everything changed for good.
Three months later, I graduated high school from my porch, wistfully smiling as I was handed a trophy for becoming the Salutatorian of Xaverian High School’s Class of 2020.
The following week in June, I stand on those same steps in funeral clothes, wondering how everything changed in the blink of an eye. Not even seven days after graduation, my grandma passes away alone at Staten Island University Hospital, unable to be accompanied by her family because of COVID-19. It comes out of the blue; she feels fatigued and lethargic, but refuses to get medical attention until the very last moment because of possible exposure to the virus. By the time she arrives at the hospital, they admit her in stable condition, but she never makes it through the night.
As of June 20th, 2020, 176,066 Americans are dead from the coronavirus. My grandma didn’t have it, but I can’t help counting her as the 176,067th life taken away by this disease. Because of COVID-19, she skipped her doctor’s appointments, and lived in complete isolation to avoid contracting the virus. Yet in the end, it is the virus that indirectly takes her away, preventing any of her loved ones from being present in her final moments.
Nearly three years later since that last day of high school, on February 21st, 2023, I can reflect on how much my life has changed. COVID-19 went on to rob me of my first two years at Brooklyn College–I spent them cooped up in my bedroom on Zoom, not meeting my newfound friends until my junior year of college. COVID-19 influenced me in my choice to be a Health and Nutrition Science major, as I hope to learn more about preventing disease and use my knowledge to make me a better physician in the future. Millions have now died from COVID-19, and my version of “normal” has forever changed. Three years ago, the future seemed bleak and dire. I still wear a mask on the train, but now I see hope in the future because of our vaccine development and how normalized it’s become to talk about public health. I can only hope that as time goes on, humanity works together to regain a sense of normalcy.
Coming into the pandemic my friend group thought of the pandemic as early vacation like many other high schoolers at the start of the pandemic phase. As many kids in the city and country it's hard to focus when you have so many distractions around you, that's what me and my got accustomed to going to the park or texting in an Instagram group chat. The reason I bring this up is many parents felt like there was much more of a burden on them as well as students feeling unmotivated to sit down in front of a computer leading to an inferior education. That transition period back into the school building gave me much more appreciation for being in school. My journey went from struggling at the end of high school to beginning of college too little by little finding a rhythm on how to study. To sum up my story is about me going from being anxious and lazy to realizing to take school more seriously and don't worry about others and do what you need to do first before helping others. Essentially don't neglect your important work to hang out.
This is a essay explaining my life throughout the pandemic.
This piece is an Autoethnography about my experience living in Chinatown during the Covid-19 pandemic, as a half Chinese person. This piece details my emotions about rising Asian hate crimes, as well as how Manhattan Chinatown experienced massive financial strain due to stigma and lack of governmental aid, and how the pandemic had affected my family personally.
The pandemic made me realize how truly lonely I was and not because I didn't have people around me or people I could still communicate with. I was lonely with myself and my company. This realization hit me during quarantine. It was a very hard truth to accept but it helped me so much. I learned to be content with my own company, to learn to love myself and listen to myself. I know that others have very similar stories of how they had major life-changing realizations not just from outside forces but from within. I think it's very important not to dismiss ourselves once things return to the new normal. We need to be aware of ourselves and feed our souls as much as we nourish our minds and bodies.
The vaccination was a crossroads decision in my life. I hated that people trusted a vaccine that was rushed into existence, forced on the people by exploiting their fears. Although, I did see the benefits of having this on my record, I still had fear that the vaccine would have unwanted effects on my body, but my fears weren't worth putting my fellow man in danger of contracting a disease that could potentially kill others. I had to make a decision in order for my life to get back on track. I was tired of being stuck in a confined space without social interaction. Being away from friends and family wasn't worth it. So I got my vaccine. Thinking about it now, I am thankful that I was able to overcome my anxiety about the covid vaccine, but I hope in the future there will be a better alternative for the current options we have now.
COVID-19 gave us a tough time, and many of us haven’t had a chance to stop and check in with ourselves about what has actually been happening around us. Coming to New York was a new beginning for me that came with additional responsibilities. I had to balance my personal and academic life, family’s financial needs, extracurricular activities, and work. Just when I felt that everything was going smoothly, I was shattered to hear that it had been three months since my I-20 was terminated because of an academic document transfer issue. I could not go back to my country as I was part of “Hizmet,” a faith-inspired civil society movement, which at that time was facing oppression and persecution due to the bogus allegations of orchestrating a failed coup in Turkey. Therefore, I had to apply for asylum, which caused me a lot of stress, and it affected my academic career as I had to focus on court procedures. Even though due to the pandemic, the scheduled hearings got canceled, prolonging this challenging period, and I lost my job which was the only source for me to pay for my college tuition and support my family, still I tried to engage rather than focus on the negative side of the situation and depress myself. I put all of my efforts into being academically productive and doing something one day I could be proud of by boosting my academic performance leading me get several scholarships, involving myself in research programs, and focusing on advocacy as a student leader. As the responsibilities got heavier and more stressful, I just kept telling myself: "The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory."
Life goes on...
This funny story comes to my mind when the topic is about COVID-19. This past winter, the weather got really cold and snowy, and the lake behind a rental Pocono house froze over. With all the snow around us, we inevitably enjoyed a good-old fashioned snowball fight where the snowballs were called the "COVID-19" infected snowballs. Once you get hit, you get the virus. However, we soon found ourselves chasing one of our friends on top of the lake due to the ferocity he threw the snowballs with. One by one, we raced our way towards the middle of the lake. It may be obvious what happened next, but it took us all by surprise at the moment. The ice that once was had cracked, and I found my body submerged in the ice-cold water. As I tried to make myself back to solid ground, the image of my other friends frantically trying to stay calm caught my attention. When we finally did make it to safety, I couldn’t help but laugh at the events that just transpired.
It all started back in March 2020, when we were informed that we were going into lockdown. Schools were going to be remote for two weeks and then we would go back, or so we thought. My initial thoughts were “YAY break” since I commuted to school and it takes me about an hour and a half to two hours to reach school. With the commute being cut off my schedule I was able to sleep in more and spend more time with my dog. Having school at the beginning of the pandemic with it being online was easy and professors were understanding as we were all learning to adjust. My attention span at the time was still good but as the next semester approached it was getting worse, it was difficult to concentrate and it took a lot for me to focus. At the same time, we would see a lot of people getting sick and dying on the news. Although we all took the precautions needed, it always worried me about my family and close family friends that had to continue working. Life was “good” as days went on until April 2020 came around when I lost two family members. It was a tough time for not just me but also for some of my younger family members. We all dealt in our own ways but one was of course being with family and keeping the happy memories alive until this day. It was also hard being isolated because I was used to seeing my friends but we learned to adjust and Facetime became more frequent, but of course, it wasn't the same. Now as we move forward two years later, March 2022, for the most part, classes are back to being in person and we were no longer staring at a screen but once again it was difficult because my body was not prepared to have to commute again. As the days go by it has gotten easier and felt worth going since my concentration is better now that it's in person. Interacting again is also better. It's nostalgic to be able to interact with others again and we are all appreciative to have the chance to share moments face to face with our family and friends again.
March 2020 when the lockdown first started I was not aware of how big this pandemic was going to be. It was the second half of my senior year of high school and I remember we all thought that the school wasn’t going to close. Our principal was telling us a few days before everything was shut down that the school will not be closing and to not be worried. Next thing you know Spring 2022 is the first time back in person for most of my classes. It was a big change having school online in the beginning, it was difficult to fully concentrate in classes and harder to stay motivated. It is a weird thing to be slightly removed from the fact that I graduated high school and started college because I wasn’t able to do certain things in person. There was at least one positive experience throughout the pandemic though. My family and I would have dinner together every night then go into the living room and watch whatever show we were binge watching at the time. It was a time where we got really close and it was a nice routine to have. It was a way for us all to be together and bring some happiness in that sad time.
I think these are the years of burnout. I felt so isolated during quarantine. I worked so hard to occupy myself while I heard sirens blaring from ambulances rushing. I worked so hard when things started to 'go back to normal' but people were still dying. It's years later and it's still not over. I'm so tired. Don't want to work when the world feels like it is still ending.
My mom worked in a nursing home. For a while, she did her job and came home with gloves and disinfectant. We all kept distance in our small home. One day, she came home with COVID-19. Burnt out by incompetent managers, menopause, and long-standing mental issues, they became tenfold. They all consumed her while she was sick. When she recovered from COVID-19, everything else stayed. She was severely mentally fragile. She would cry every day and wanted to be in the same room with everyone, all the time. She could not be left alone for months. My father did not remain compassionate and sympathetic. My sister struggled to be my mom's friend. I used all my energy to keep her head above tears. The emotional toll on everyone in my family was the worst we have have ever faced. We all struggled to help her. She eventually recovered and not goes on walks everyday, by herself.
I've consistently been an extremely outgoing, positive, and optimistic person. There was never a moment when I wasn't socializing and beaming. However, it put me in a depressive condition during the pandemic, where I was downright isolated. Sure I was able to spend time with my family in the consolation of our home; I felt secluded from the universe. I went from someone that was frequently out to be confined to the safety of my residence. From my enthusiasm for learning to gazing at a screen and calling it my daily interaction, the pandemic took away my motivation to learn and my passion for academics.
I noticed a transformation in who I was when I hardly woke up and found no inspiration for anything. I couldn't contact the support I needed because a global pandemic seized the world by storm. Most therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists weren't established for online sessions. I attempted suicide in 2021, and I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. I was admitted into a suicide prevention program and was provided daily antidepressants to suppress the desire to commit suicide.
Now that the world is gradually yielding to what seems ordinary, I'm attaining my life back. However, the person I was before the pandemic is gone, and I'm still attempting to discover myself every day.
The pandemic was a really tough time for me. Apart from not being able to see my friends and visit family, I was unable to work, I was taking care of my sick grandmother and I wholeheartedly took on the responsibility of maintaining a household. I neglected my mental health and ignored my physical well being and overtime the effects of stress were visible on my face. Eventually I started to neglect my responsibilities and would remain in my room for days at a time, not eating, not showering and not speaking. It was evident that I was experiencing some depressive symptoms. To combat this I had to change my habits and began writing these little manifestations and used them as mantras everyday just to get out of bed. I wrote them on a long white sheet and hung it on my closet door because it was often the first thing I saw when I woke up. They really helped me start my days with a positive mindset. Even though this was created during the mandatory quarantine for COVID-19 over the course of 2020, I find that they are still helpful when I am feeling stressed and need a mood boost.
NB: this was not created all in one day. The first line was made in July when I was having a really hard day and decided to cut off all my hair. The others were added gradually over the rest of the pandemic with the latest edition being “SAD GIRLZ LUV MONEY” in November 2022 because I started working again but had to be out of bed at 5am every morning. This is the name of a song by Amarae ft Moliy which I played every day taking the train on my way to work as motivation for being on time. In the picture you will see that there's space for lots of additions and I plan to add more in the future.
Beginning of 2021, my sister went into the hospital to give birth. In this time, COVID was at an all-time high, when everyone was afraid to leave their own home. Three days after she has given birth, she left the hospital. A few days later, she started feeling really under the weather. She thought it was postpartum pains but got tested just in case. Turns out she had contracted COVID from the hospital in the time she was giving birth. The pandemic was around, and no one was able to get away from it. As careful as you were, you never know what is going to happen. Just do your best. That is what my sisters story tells me about the pandemic.
I personally never thought for a second that the COVID-19 pandemic would have had the power to take someone close from my life. I remember waking up that one morning, thinking that it was just going to be an ordinary day. My father's phone starts ringing in his room, and he picks it up. In the living room, I remember seeing him proceed to listen and nod his head. He finally hangs up and slowly makes his way towards me. He tells me that his boss passed away alone in his sleep the night before from complications associated with heart disease as he had also been infected with COVID-19 several days before. Eddie had always been there for my dad the past four decades. He watched me grow into an adult from day one and also gave me these large birthday gifts every year. For the first time in a long time, I remember seeing pain in my father's eyes, and it was definitely something that I'll never forget. This memory of losing someone close to me will always be something that I'll always associate with the COVID-19 pandemic. I also think that losing someone close or a loved one to the pandemic says a lot about the impact a pandemic can have on both mental health and physical health.
When Covid 19 hit the USA in March 2020. The biggest impact me and my family faced was income. Both I and my spouse were working before the pandemic but the places where we worked closed resulting in us being unemployed. We tried to file unemployment so that we could have some sort of income but our applications were not accepted by the system for a long period of time. In just a few weeks all our savings were almost finished and it was a very stressful period for both me and my father. we were forced to find something to work even though covid cases were still surging at that particular time. working under such conditions was very hard and stressful but, luckily things got better with time and our situation got much better with the passage of time.
I remember exactly the day before they shut down workplaces and college on Tuesday St Patrick's day I went out to go eat dinner with my friends at Outback Steakhouse and we were all saying how everything will be shutting down and how this will be a one month thing, like in a joking manner, I even went to cancel my gym membership and all that just incase without knowing what was to come after. School went online, I got a call from work that they were closing for awhile until they allowed dine-in again and they did not do take out at all, so there was no work at all for my coworkers or myself. School then was shut down for 2-3 weeks while they transitioned online which was a weird thing for both professors and students to get adjusted to. Then walking outside in Bay Ridge and not seeing 86st full of people and just looking like a ghost town area which was just a scary sight to see. All of this was just weird and kind of stressful, because there was no work at that moment, no hanging out with friends as much as you would want to or seeing family and then seeing your neighborhood go from busy to empty was a weird sight to see. Not being able to see friends or family for a long time really affected me seeing them online games or on social media helped, but it was not the same as seeing them in person. I did not have that many bills to pay off at that time, but not having a job worried me a bit when it came to paying phone bill and other items.
My experience during the covid19 pandemic was very difficult. My life shifted so quickly from being outside every day and being active to being stuck at home every day and attending classes through zoom. The most difficult was shifting classes through zoom because I would not interact with my classmates and would sometimes get lost in my assignments. Something that was difficult was being home alone and not being able to visit my mom and brother because I did not want to risk my mom on catching covid.
When Covid-19 hit I was a senior in high school and had a few months till I graduated. Through the beginning of March 2020, everyone was making jokes about "corona time" and fake coughing, leading to many memes and tiktok jokes about it. It was funny when it wasn't serious and didn't seem like such a threat, but over the next week it became a lot more serious. My school emailed us saying there is no more school, in person, on March 11, 2020. We had to switch to online learning through zoom, and were forced to end off our senior year just like that. Through all my high school years I watched seniors have their fun by doing senior pranks, winning school color war, going to prom and having sun senior activities and trips! I was looking forward to this so much, and when these events were so close to happening, they were now not able to. We had to stay home for months with a city wide curfew and everywhere you went you had to wear a mask and gloves because you didn't know how easily this virus spread. Every time I would go food shopping for my mother, my father made me put all my clothing that I wore to the store straight into the laundry, and I had to take a shower. My mom also enforced wiping down every item bought with a Clorox wipe so that it was sanitized. The world was becoming scary. This quickly became a reality and it was a shock to everyone because it was all just a joke and nobody took it serious in the beginning.
During quarantine I had to get used to not being able to get up get fully dressed for school, get on the train, sit in a classroom and learn from a teacher talking right in front of you. Quarantine made me lazy and tired but I learned how to keep myself busy. I got into painting, learning how to do nails, and taking better care of my hair and skin. I was devastated sometimes when I was feeling like hanging out with my friends but could not because we all had to stay home for months. I spent a lot of time with my mom and we did a lot of things together like watch movies, cook and go on walks when I wanted to go outside. I spent a lot of time laying down and in front of screens that I had to get glasses that block the harsh lights because I get headaches. If we had to do quarantine again I would not mind because I know I can stop myself from being bored and help stop the spread.
The file I am submitting is of a journal I kept for the first six weeks of the pandemic sharing the different events that occurred and how they impacted me and my family.
My experience during the peak of COVID-19 was just a ball of anxiety, nerves, some good moments, and some bad moments. The transition from always going out, being on campus, hanging out with friends, eating out to suddenly being stuffed into staying home every day for 3 months was very tough. Especially, with the mass amount of misinformation being spread about COVID-19 at the time- it was just scary. No one really knew what this virus was, new information was being released everyday, you had people who suddenly became doctors overnight and try to tell you what to do, and so on. Going to the supermarket became like this crazy mission where every inch of skin and orifice of your body had to be covered and every single little thing had to be sanitized before it was brought back into the house. There was even a point where my family wouldn't even open the windows. It was very extreme but, I don't blame them for having that fear. I was afraid too. I was home for three months straight with very little to do besides mulling over my own stressful thoughts. The news gave me anxiety. Having all my family members suddenly be home all the time led to us stepping on each other toes more often than usual. Things began to lighten up after a while, thankfully. I was given the opportunity after three months of strict quarantine to work in a food pantry for a non profit organization in my community. To finally be able to go out, see a friend or two, and give back to my community? It was a definite yes. Working in the food pantry was an extremely rewarding experience. We served almost 300 to 400 people daily, giving them free meals, groceries, and essentials. It took my mind off of a lot, especially after a rough three months. I was also glad I was able to maintain social distancing and safe mask practices throughout my time there because it was essential that I did not bring anything home to my family. Overall, my COVID-19 experience during the peak of the pandemic was just a rollercoaster of emotions.
Covid -19 has changed how many people lived their lives. It was a hard time for everyone that lasted quite long. From being unemployed, remote learning was difficult for families.
I was in my senior year of highschool when the pandemic first hit. I went from being social with my friends everyday to being home quarantined with family for months. Not only was this hard but I had to learn how to adapt to remote learning. This was not an easy task due to the fact your teacher wasn't there to give you a real classroom vibe. We did not even meet on zoom til graduation. This was very upsetting because I never had a real prom and was looking forward to it for my senior year. Being a student during the pandemic was not easy. There were times I wanted to just give up because the teachers would assign a load of work sometimes with no explanation on how to go about it. I can say I made the best out of it. Though we were not able to celebrate graduation the traditional way my highschool stool did their best and it was greatly appreciated.
Throughout this whole pandemic my family lost some friends. This was heartbreaking because we could not even go visit them in the hospital or anything. My family made sure every morning my sibling and I were taking our vitamins and these natural remedies to make our immune systems stronger. We changed what we usually eat to more healthy types of foods that will benefit our body. This was a hard experience for my family but we made the best out of it. We spent months together everyday because we did not want to go out and risk anything. Lysol and Bleach became our best friends over time.
Food supplies became short when you went to the supermarket and many people were losing money because they couldn't go to work. This was a hard time for many families because a lot of people suffered due to these reasons. It wasn't till a couple weeks after being in quarantine for months til the government decided to give out unemployment. This was a benefit for some familie and hard for others because they still couldn't feed their families. Our lives changed from walking everyone and seeing people's faces to seeing everyone in a mask.
Many people till this day don’t feel like it's safe to leave their homes. It's been two years since the pandemic first started and now we have a vaccine that's out here. This may seem like a benefit but even if you do take the vaccine you can still contract Covid-19. This is a main reason as to why many people don’t see the point of taking the vaccine. In the beginning of the pandemic the main people who were getting the virus were older people and those who had weak immune systems. Hospitals were packed with many cases and nurses even became short staff. That was a very scary time to witness the pain in the nurses and patients faces.
Overall this was a time to remember. It was many hardships but we made a huge progress to where we are today. I am glad to say I am fully vaccinated so I am doing what's best for myself. I am in college now and finally in a inperson classroom. They soon will drop the mask mandate which will be a complete change when you see people’s faces again. I am glad we are getting back to our normal lives.
Growing up, everyones dream is for school to be permanently closed. If you are not in school then your dream going to bed every night is for your work-place to be closed. Just hanging out at home watching movies and playing video games or painting or doing nothing but your favorite hobbies seems like the perfect life. This is what everyone had thought until it actually happened, but with a very, very negative twist. Even though it was not too long ago, to this exact date and for the rest of my life I will remember when this "dream lifestyle" became a horrible reality. After hearing my professors say that class might be moved onto zoom for 2 weeks and hearing my boss say that the catering hall might be closing for approximately the same amount of time, it hit me that this was going to be very, very bad. I remember being 16 years old in the heart of New York City with my friends saying that never could I imagine times square empty at any costs. Without having a hint, this was coming to an unfortunate fruition. Everyday life had become class or assignments on my laptop in the morning, then going for a long walk, then playing video games or watching tv the rest of the day. No physical contact with any other humans outside of my household. Groceries were being delivered straight from the store and it seemed this was an endless repeating cycle, simply sitting there waiting for positive news and updates. I will say that with my personal experience, I am extremely fortunate that I did not have nearly the negative time that a high percentage of people had. I believe that the reason why it was so strange was because of the sudden halt of our routines and lifestyle. During this time, I took time to reflect on everything but also to embrace and make the most of the situation. As I previously stated, I am very fortunate to go through this time with not much tragedy. I was going for long walks with the family members in my household and also bonding with friends through video games. I was learning more about stocks, cooking, fitness/health as a whole, and more. However, I do remember my father coming home everyday from 16 hour shifts for weeks being exhausted because he is a funeral director. He would come home and tell us how he was seeing first-hand something he has never seen before and what he was seeing in terms of the deaths from COVID19. This story is important to me because while I was finding positives through this tough time, it put into perspective how many, many people were going through the complete opposite with extremely tough times. A big life lesson that I learned is that even if you are finding positives in something and doing well personally, it is essential to take a step back and try to do more for the people going through tough times. This applies through every single day of life and every aspect.
Many people consider the beach as a memorable place regardless if it was a positive or negative experience. Going to the beach had me radiating positivity; something I had not felt in a while. It was chilly day where barely anyone was there because of the weather but also the pandemic was still arise. It was a perfect place to escape your problems, yet escaping reality eventually became inevitable. Soon the funs from the New York Aquarium , Coney Island Beach, IHOP and even the Q train came to an end when what it seems like thousands of people came to my house. And soon enough my mother did too with an event that quickly changed my life and my family as a whole.
This story that I have told indicates the possible outcomes of the pandemic: death. This story is important to me because it really changed me as a person and who I am today. The loss of someone you were close to is big event in your life you can never forget. It is also important to me because it made me realize that people really underestimate diseases because of how it is perceived. For COVID-19, no one would expect anyone to die unless they were old or were immunocompromised, yet it happened. It was and is still treated as something that can pass over you but it does not. It can either affect your from first hand or second hand whether you get it or not. This outcome from the pandemic is an event that you will never forget.
The story I uploaded expresses my experiences overall during the pandemic and how it has contrasted and compared with another epidemic as well as how it contributed to people's perspective (worldwide) on COVID-19.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 until it affected our personal, family, and friends' lives. It has not only affected only our health aspects, it has also become a factor in the outbreak of our family conflicts. In March-April of 2020, when almost everyone was in home quarantine. My family was no exception, almost all of us stayed at home because we were afraid of the virus. It never occurred to me that having a family in one house, staying together from morning to night every day, would lead to so many conflicts. It was unbearable from personal routine, living habits, etc. I feel that home isolation will make people understand one thing, even though we are a close family, everyone needs to have their own space or there will be conflicts. During that time, my family basically argued very frequently. This eventually led to, as a result, the separation of my parents from each other. During that time it was hard for us, we filed for unemployment because no one in the family was working. Prices were very expensive, especially for masks, alcohol and other epidemic protection supplies. I still remember that at the beginning a box of medical masks cost only 6 dollars for a box of 50 pieces, however, later when there was a lack of material a box was sold for tens of dollars. A series of problems, financial, spiritual, interpersonal and physical, were affected by the arrival of the epidemic. All in all, I just hope the epidemic passes quickly and life goes back to normal. I believe this is what everyone affected by the epidemic would like to see.
In the past year, I have experienced more stress and fatigue while attending virtual school, especially as I began my freshman year of college in 2020. Freshman year of college is a brand-new experience for all students, and going to school during a pandemic has changed what I thought college would be for me. I remember the exact moment when schools closed in 2020 because I was a senior in high school when the Department of Education announced that all schools need to close because the pandemic had just started making society nervous. I used to participate in my school’s music program, but when my high school sent an email that all classes had been shifted to online classes, it was a shock to everyone, including the teachers. When the online school first started, we were all unsure of how it would work, and my friends and I began questioning how we could take classes online and submit our homework. When I was a first-year college student, it has been difficult to connect to other students, because many of my high school friends went to a different colleges,s and making friends in online classes can be difficult. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to say goodbye in person to my high school friends because our graduation ceremony was canceled. I have only gotten to know my fellow peers briefly in online classes; I learned that making friends in classes has been different, because we are only connecting on social media outside of class, and not getting to interact with one another on campus, in study groups, or at the library. Finally, most of the classes go back in person and we are able to build social relationships with others and experience real college life as a college student.
So I had never had a job before, which made it hard to find a job while in a pandemic. After months of trying to find a job, I found a place that took a chance with me. Getting that job helped me get out of my sad state of people telling me that I'm doing nothing with my life since I still didn't figure out what I wanted to get my bachelor's in. Also, getting that job required me to work with people, so I had improved my communication skills. Now, I feel more comfortable introducing myself to people.
The pandemic didn't have all negative effects on virtue students
Some students who were doing online learning were able to manage their work/life balance more easier
The beginning of my story takes place at my old highschool which is Union Square Academy for Health sciences. The rest takes place at neighborhood which is Queens, Ridgewood.
This diary entry explains my emotions and thoughts about what's going on in the world right now. This piece of work is important to me because it's me being in my most vulnerable state. I'm honest, open, and true about what I'm feeling during this pandemic and how it effects me mentally, physically, and emotionally. Enjoy.
COVID-19 in my opinion came out of nowhere and our former president didn't take it serious enough hence why we had to quarantine in the first place. I worked various jobs throughout the pandemic. I worked at Burger King & I was a Home Attendant during quarantine. My favorite part with working two jobs and going to school was getting off early, not having to clean after people and school was FULLY ONLINE. That had to be my favorite part. I'm not a fan of Brooklyn College AT ALL, so being online mad it easier to like school. At the time I was a BIO major and the Biology Department was not attentive.. Its like people became lazy and didn't want to do the job THEY GET PAID TO DO. Anywho, Around May I left Burger King and went to Amazon & was still a Home Attendant. Left Amazon & went to PLS a Check Cashing company by far my favorite job thus far. There were various job opportunities around, everyone should've been making money in the pandemic. Not to mention stimulus checks. Lots of people definitely reaped the benefits from the pandemic and unfortunately some lost families to the pandemic.
Next day after Covid-19 booster shot, I woke up with body aches. First, I thought it was booster reaction, but later on I Was detected by Covid-19 positive. At the same day my leg sprained, wow what a coincidence! It was really an unpleasant day for me. I knew I have to be strong enough to fight with this situation. I received IV to treat Covid at the same day. My Covid symptoms were coughing a lot and loss of food tase and smell. I continued to pray and read the Quran. Initially, I had to stay in quarantine for 14 days. These 14 days were like 14 months to me. I will never forget these isolated period of Covid-19. I was trying to continue my household chores. After 19 days later my Covid result came negative. At that time, I felt like a free hummingbird.
I believe that Allah gives us burdens according to our endurance. I probably wouldn't survived if I had Covid early in the pandemic. I am sincerely for those who were died in this Corona period. I thank Allah for giving me a new life as well as modern science and medical fields.
Name: Adafih Phillip
College: Brooklyn College
Class: Introduction to Public Health HNSC 2100 Spring 2022
Professor : M. Horlyck- Romanovsky
Assignment: Covid-19 Reflection
Hospital Healthcare Worker in the Covid 19 Pandemic
The Covid -19 virus was declared as a global pandemic in March of 2020. The first case in New York State was confirmed on March 1st2020. Healthcare workers face severe challenges and as a frontline healthcare professional I felt vulnerable during this crisis because I was committed to performing my duties as a support staff for nurses and doctors. My primary duties are administrative but it included admitting and discharging patients therefore I work directly with patients being admitted with the virus. I observed how very sick and fragile patients were and the severe challenges healthcare workers faced to care for those patients. Many healthcare facilities faced a major shortage of protective wear such as masks and gowns to protect ourselves .We worked extended hours per week with little or no sleep because of shortage of staff. I was faced with significant burdens such as financial hardship, psychological stress and fear of not being able to assist my family who lived in the Caribbean.
Despite the many obstacles we adapted to the changes and everyone did their best .I must make mention of my workplace efforts to help make the changes less stressful. Workers were provided breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, grocery items were shipped to our homes and private transport was provided to and from every borough for everyone. Hotel rooms were provided for staff who did not feel safe to go home to family members , in fear of spreading the virus to loved ones.
As a current Public Health student of Brooklyn College and a frontline healthcare worker it is an honor to share a bit of my experience with you.
Story describing the impact high school Model U.N. had on me and how difficult it was to readjust to life after quarantine