Life Behind A Mask

Dear Diary,

On Thursday March 12th, 2020, I was enjoying the end of my senior year. I felt pretty relaxed because I had a solid plan for college with some nice scholarships, and I was just having fun with friends and gliding through the end of my senior year. We had been hearing a little bit of a new virus though, but no one was really worried because it was all the way in China, and nothing like that would actually happen to us. I was in my fourth period coding class when an unexpected announcement was made. We were told that due to the coronavirus, the school would be closed Friday through Monday for a deep clean. As soon as we all heard that, everyone erupted with cheers. We were so happy to get a long weekend, and have some time off of school with little regard to the reason why. We were told that school would pick back up on the following Tuesday. But Tuesday never came. Over the weekend there was a reported COVID case in our state. Then our county. Then my school. Things were becoming very real, although nothing felt real at all. Our state Governor gave us a date that the schools would open back up, but it seemed like that date kept getting pushed back farther and farther. I didn’t realize that the next time I would return to my school, I would be wearing my cap, gown, and mask.

On Thursday, no one knew that it would be the last day of school. I didn’t know it would be the last time I would ever see some of my classmates. I didn’t know that would be the last time I would ever walk around my high school as a teenager, as a student. A part of myself died that day.

Now, the memory of the cheering in the halls haunts me. We were celebrating the very thing that was about to take over our lives. The next few months were hell. I never left the house or saw anyone because I didn’t want to compromise my parents with whatever I was being exposed to. Especially my mom, because she is at high risk with an immunocompromised disorder. I felt so alone, and it didn’t help seeing my peers hanging out with friends, on the beach, or just looking happy on social media. I was always angry, anxious about the future, and depressed. Life felt like it was never going to move on from that point. It was almost as if time was paused, yet the seasons were changing and life was moving forward in a twisted way. I selected two very close friends that I started to hang out with a lot, and my heart began to heal a little bit. I started to work on my passions like piano, cooking, and origami. I was making progress, but the news of suicides always unraveled me no matter how good I thought I was doing. Soon, the focus of my life shifted to college. It was time to sign up for classes, and move out, and I was beyond ecstatic. This is what I was waiting for! This is what I had been preparing and working towards for so long! I was a bit naive and thought that as soon as college started, everything would return back to normal…. But that wishful thinking led to many disappointments.

All of a sudden I experienced blow after blow. 1) I am not able to register in person, time to learn how to use zoom. 2) My dorm moved to single occupancy which crushed my heart after I had been talking to my new roommate 3) only one class turned out to be on campus, and it was every other week, so 4) my parents and I made the hard choice to keep me at home. 5) there were very few activities to participate in because of my long commute and 6) most of them got cancelled anyway. 7) I had to learn how to adjust to college while learning how to navigate remote classes. The course load word was so intense and I felt like I was drowning. Then, things started to look up a little bit when there was an advertisement for 3 girls looking for a fourth roommate! I checked out the place, and within a month I was moved in. My parents and I decided it would be best for me to live here so that I can feel like a college student, and be able to interact with kids my own age on a daily basis. I am so happy that I moved, but moving in the middle of a semester during a pandemic was very difficult. I had so many balls up in the air, and I accidentally dropped a couple along the way. I ended up dropping one course that I was not doing very well in, but I managed to keep up with my other four classes to remain a full time student. Life is getting better, but it is still very difficult. I am trying to make new friends, but it is proving to be quite hard. I feel like a part of me has changed on an emotional level. I am definitely craving friends and a relationship on an unhealthy level, but I am also pushing people away as soon as they get close to me. I am very vulnerable right now, but it is ok because I am trying to just take this one day at a time. No one could have predicted that this would be the reality of 2020, and I don’t even believe it myself some days. Even though my brain knows that I am now a young adult in college, my soul is still waiting to go back to high school on Tuesday.