Photo Courtesy of Molly Schreiner
March of 2021 meant the start of spring, Women’s History Month, March Madness, and much more. However, this past month marked something that is not typically celebrated during the third month of the year: 1 year since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. From early quarantine to summer 2020 to now, everyone has grown, evolved and experienced their own life changes and are ready to reflect on this past year.
Looking back at the beginning of quarantine, just about everyone remembers feeling angry or stressed. For State High sophomore Casidy Cohagan, it was no different.
“I remember being really frustrated during the start of quarantine,” Cohagan said. “I didn’t really know what to do with my newfound spare time, and just remember being frustrated and really bored.”
Throughout late March, April, and early May of 2020, the peak of quarantine, boredom was a common occurrence among households. As time progressed, the weather warmed, and weight was lifted from COVID-19 restrictions, more freedom was offered to most people. Now that a little over a year has passed since COVID-19 became a pandemic, Cohagan explains how her feelings have shifted.
“I’m super excited that the vaccine is becoming more accessible, it makes me feel a bit more hopeful about the upcoming school year,” Cohagan explained. “I also learned how to keep myself busy during downtime like reading books and trying new recipes.”
Many feel similarly to Cohagan and have found that they have somehow evolved or learned something new this past year. COVID-19 has not only changed attitudes and personalities but several aspects of everyday life. Cohagan expanded on what aspect of her life she feels was most affected.
“I mean pretty much everything has been affected by Covid in some way shape or form, but I think the biggest change for me personally is how I interact with others,” Cohagan said. “Since Covid I’ve found myself learning new things about myself that I know translate into my interactions with others.” Now that just about a year has passed, Cohagan explained that she believes this aspect, like many others, has evolved over this past year as well.
“The way I’ve connected with others has changed,” Cohagan said. “Like early lockdown I usually just FaceTimed or had Zoom calls with my friends but now I feel more comfortable and hang out (masked) with people outside.”
Looking back on this past year, everyone can find at least one part of their life that was significantly changed and/or has evolved since the pandemic was first introduced. With these evolutions comes lessons learned, and Cohagan shared hers.
“The most valuable thing I’ve learned this year is [to] be able to go with the flow,” Cohagan explained. “Early lockdown I was super frustrated with things that were outside of my control, and even though I still get frustrated with things I can’t control I try to focus on things that I can.”
The start of quarantine was almost surreal for a lot of people as it felt like uncharted territory. State High sophomore Molly Schreiner felt similarly.
“When quarantine first occurred for me personally it honestly did not feel real and I didn’t think it was going to last long,” Schreiner said. “I was happy to spend more time with my family but it was hard not being able to see people from outside my household.” Now that over a year has passed since then, Schreiner explained her feelings about the pandemic now in comparison.
“It can be hard at times, but I just always try and do what I can to keep myself and others safe,” Schreiner explained. “I definitely miss my friends and hope to be able to hang out with them fully soon.” Reflecting back on this year, Schreiner also explained what she feels was the aspect of her life that was most affected by COVID-19.
“I would say sports or traveling, my family loves traveling and due to COVID we are unable to do so,” Schreiner said. “Along with that, sports have changed tremendously and they are quite different from before.” When asked if she believes these parts of her life have changed since early quarantine, Schreiner readily agreed.
“I definitely think so. My family was able to take a short trip in January and that was something that was definitely different,” Schreiner explained. “Again, with sports at this time I have been able to practice whereas last March we were unable to practice or go to the turf.”
Sports and traveling are two activities that require actions that would not typically be deemed COVID-safe. However, as Schreiner said, the ability to practice these activities safely has evolved over this past year as new rules and restrictions have been developed. Additionally, like Cohagan and many others, Schreiner feels that she has learned a few things throughout her experiences in the pandemic.
“I really think that living in the moment is something that I have learned along with really cherishing the small things like eating in restaurants with your friends or family,” Schreiner said. “I think it’s super important to now appreciate those small moments because as we have seen this past year they can be taken from us.”
The pandemic has presented each and every person with their own personal set of obstacles, as well as opportunities this past year. From the very beginning of quarantine to now, everyone has experienced their own form of change, whether it relates to their character or just some other aspect of their life. Whatever that may be, this past year deserves a little reflection.