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Personal Statement

       While researching and interviewing for this project, I found it was important to me that I got to say my piece. I was also affected by COVID-19 and also had a rough time during the last three years. The following text is a recollection and dissection of my thoughts, feelings, and experiences throughout the pandemic. 

Friday, March 13, 2020

       I remember talking with my best friend in between classes. We were excitedly brainstorming where to go after school. Both of us were off after lunch. It was Friday the 13th and we wanted to go get tattoos to commemorate the date, our senior year, high school as a whole, and our friendship. When we got to the tattoo shop, we weren’t overly attached to any of the designs so we didn’t get tattoos that day. I wish we had. 

       That was the last good day. In his book, The Fault In Our Stars, John Green writes about having a last good day and how, in some way, we are aware of that last good day as it happens. My last good day was Friday, March 13, 2020. That was my last day of high school. It was the last day of normalcy for many years to come. 

Saturday, June 6, 2020

       I took to the streets of my hometown to stand up for black lives across the country. My partner at the time and I held signs up as we walked the route with the thousands of other people there that day. I remember seeing police along the route and feeling scared. During that time, the media was depicting cops as cruel and unpredictable. Even as a white person, I felt fear. It was fear of what police officers are capable of with the massive amounts of power they hold and fear of simply being around that many people. More and more people were dying every day and there was nothing protecting me from COVID-19 but a piece of cotton over my mouth.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

       I officially graduated high school. This landmark event was acknowledged by driving through my high school’s parking lot, picking up my diploma folder (with nothing inside), and taking a photo in front of a set-and-repeat. Not exactly the ceremony I had been imagining.

       At a local park, my graduating class gathered together for the first time in months. I remember being excited to see everyone. It was a small taste of life before COVID-19. I also remember feeling so down the whole day. What was the point of all this if we can’t have an actual graduation ceremony? Who are we putting this charade on for? 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

       I watched it snow on campus for the first time that school year. That’s it - just watched it. I had been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. My university gave me three hours to pack and move to a different dorm to quarantine for 18 days. My food was delivered to my door once a day. I was alone in a dorm room. I was once again finding myself thinking, “This is not what I thought this would be like.” All my friends got to play in the snow while I sat in my quarantine room all day.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

       This was supposed to be the beginning of spring break. It was actually the beginning of my summer. My university sent us home for spring break and said, “Don’t come back.” Something about not wanting unnecessary travel. All I knew was that my freshman year spring break was just another thing to be cut short by COVID-19.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

       Residual warm weather from summertime meant fall classes liked to meet outside. It also meant that was an opportunity to take masks off. Classes were still consisting of weary looks at people who coughed and masks indoors. I remember feeling like I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I could see what life might look like coming out of the other side of the pandemic. It was nice to finally be able to picture my life as a college student, even if it was over a year into my college career.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

       I saw Harry Styles at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado. It was my first concert after the pandemic hit. The Ball Arena holds 21,000 people. I remember seeing the inside of that sold-out arena and feeling extremely overwhelmed. There were so many people. Everything I had been told over the last 18 months was to avoid large gatherings. This was the mother of all large gatherings. It took a while to get used to seeing that many people all in the same room.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

       Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court. I attended a protest downtown. It was interesting to have that protest experience to compare to, and overwrite, the experience I had had in June of 2020. There was more of a sense of unity and community. I felt more like myself.

May 2023

       I would say life is back to “normal.” I’m not the same person I was in March of 2020, but I think that’s okay. I learned so much over the course of the last three years. If life had stayed the same and gone completely according to plan, I don’t think I would hold the same values and be the same person that I am today.

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