As 2019 ended, everyone was excited to begin a new decade, maybe even a more prosperous one. I was one of them, waiting in the back of my father’s New Year’s Eve party for the clock to hit 12:00 and everyone to celebrate 2020. I was so happy when a sudden cheer sounded in the air. “10! 9! 8! 7!” As the countdown neared one, I looked at my cousin, Aura, with a smiling face, both of us nodding to each other. Finally, the countdown came to 1. And I jumped off my seat, rushing to hug her as we both yelled, “Happy New Year!” In that moment, we would never have imagined what was in store for us in the coming months. A disaster was heading towards us from far far away!
It’s March 12th and COVID-19 dominated headlines all over the world. As it spread across America, panic is honestly the best word to describe what everyone was feeling and it started out as another Thursday for me, wearing my JROTC uniform, all the while thinking about the virus on the way to school.
As the day wore on, everything seemed normal, though there were smattered conversations all around about what would happen if the virus did come to our town. However, that still felt so far away and I pushed those gloomy thought to the back of my mind as I headed to lunch with my best friend Lilly and discussed how we would be spending our upcoming weekend.
Throughout the day, our teachers informed us about the possibilities of online schooling, while we listened with half an ear, not believing that it could become a reality sooner than any of us expected.
At home, I was finishing my history homework when a call from our school superintendent announced “Old Bridge Township Public Schools will be closed on Friday and Monday as the threat of the virus is in the town”. I was overjoyed at the thought of no school for two extra days and I immediately put away my books, cheering the fact that would not have to wake up early in the morning for the next two days.
However, just as my unexpected vacation came to an end, we received another notification from my school, this time informing us that our schools would be closed indefinitely. That announcement completely stopped me in my tracks, making me realize that my life was about to change a whole lot.
Though, the first few days didn’t feel very unusual, as days turned into weeks, and weeks into months, it started to feel like I was living in an alternate universe. Watching on the news the infection and death rates rising at such a dramatic pace, reality was now hitting me hard. It was unbelievable to think that only a month ago, none of us believed that we would have to deal with virus up so close.
It’s now been almost 3 months since we have gone into quarantine. As I sit here writing this today, I feel how stressful this situation really is and how much everything around me has changed! Going to the store wearing a mask in fear of getting the virus is scary; staying at home is not fun at all; I cannot go out other than daily walks, so I am compensating by spending so much time on my phone to keep me company as my mom and dad are both busy in work.
I never imagined what life in quarantine would be like! Before all this, all I had to worry about was completing my homework on time and getting good grades in school. Now, I have to worry about not catching the virus, not spending too much time on my phone, even though it is the only way to keep in touch with my friends, missing my friends and family whom I can’t visit, plus maintaining my grades at school.
As the last month of school approaches, I realize how much I appreciate going there and being with my teachers and friends. I miss my friends a lot and would give anything to meet them. I even miss those annoying kids at school! I wish I had hugged my friends a little longer before the quarantine. I miss meeting my favorite cousins, and FaceTime calls aren’t exactly making up for them. I am terrified of getting the virus, even though I know I have a small chance of dying from it.
As the curve flattens more, I feel somewhat optimistic that soon I’ll be able to get back to my normal life and say, “I made it through the Corona Virus.”