The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many things, including my family and my and my sports that I play, my family has been a little closer because we have been in the same house so long now with everyone at the same time. My mom and my dad work a lot, I have a job, and my brother house hops between his friends most of the time, so it is kind of nice to have everyone around at the same time. The biggest thing that has been affected for me is my schooling. The last part of my senior year was taken away and at first made it very hard to maintain the very high and hard earned GPA that I had. Also, starting college and being the very first in my family to go and that will graduate too is hard. It is also a little difficult to not stress out because I don’t really have any help right away or direct answers to my questions due to emails taking longer than 2 days to be sent back or just lack of communication over the emails. The online learning is nice, because I can complete it when I am able to and have enough time, but it is pretty easy to become distracted or wanting to just not do your work since it almost doesn’t feel like I am really in college right now. Community wise, our neighborhood has been very cautious but has been nice to anyone who needs help, whether it’s groceries or someone who just needs to get out of the house and walk around. The most common thing that I saw in the community was that more people got up and out to exercise or walk their dogs more consistently throughout the day. The most difficult part of this experience so far has been not being able to see my friends as much, not having a prom, or a graduation. I guess what inspired me or gave me hope was that my friends were so willing to find ways around the situation to hang out with each other or stay in contact however they can. My birthday was in May and quarantine affected it because I couldn’t really hang out with people they just had to drive by in their cars and hand me whatever little things they got me through the window. But my brother took it upon himself to organize a drive by birthday parade for me on my birthday and even got the neighbors involved in it. He knew that I was really excited about my 18th birthday and realized that this is the next best thing. I have witnessed multiple acts of kindness, not only in my neighborhood, but within the community I live in or places that I go. For example my grandma‘s friend who goes to Costco will bring her back toilet paper or other things that she needs because she gets in during the senior time and is able to get what is necessary for them. Another thing was the alteration lady in Santee closed her shop for a week or two and made it a bunch of mass to donate to the hospital and essential workers. At work in the beginning of COVID-19, we gave first responders free meals in the form of a happy meal if they showed their ID. It was about a three week long promotion and it helped us show our appreciation for them and their hard work. I think life will not be the same after re-emerging from sheltering in place, because once people get used to a routine it’s kind of hard to break it. Even though positive things have come out of the Pandemic, there are still some setbacks. The biggest one in my opinion is school, whether it is elementary school, middle school, high school, or college, the online creates learning difficulties and the students may be overly challenged once they go back to in person school. I think once it is over, people will still be slightly paranoid or people try to make it continue to make sure that we are as you’re safe. The only changes I will be making going forward that I can think of right now is to appreciate my time with others more, because you never know what will happen to them or if something like this pandemic will affect them or cause you to lose them. Also, to probably clean my car, phone, and other items that are touched a lot more frequently, because they are dirtier than we think they are and germs spread fast.
Submitted by Christy Keller, San Diego County – Lakeside.