OPINION: Expectations vs. reality with the pandemic

Student laments on her recent experience as a high school senior in the midst of a pandemic. (Courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration)Student laments on her recent experience as a high school senior in the midst of a pandemic. (Courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration)

Jamie Brock, Correspondent

The COVID-19 pandemic was, without a doubt, an unpleasant surprise to the world. There have been many losses due to this new disease, and it has been hard for everyone to adapt to the new “new”. The common every day event of going to school has definitely been altered in a way that would have been unimaginable a year ago.

During my senior year of high school, my older friends were constantly posting their college adventures on social media. I had what seemed like a perfect image of how I would finish out my 12th year and prepare for college. I was so excited for Saturday night football games and tailgates, hanging out with large friend groups, going to classes at a huge school, meeting my professors and so much more. Even though I was nervous to leave my family two hours behind, I felt like Jacksonville was going to be my new home. I was nearly overwhelmed at all of the new experiences I was going to face on my own. 

In March 2020, my school let out for spring break with the news that we might not return. At first I thought to myself, “Okay, cool. I get it easy this year.” I soon realized that I was missing so much of my senior year, like playing in our annual spring band concert, supporting my friends during spring sports, senior awards day, the baccalaureate ceremony and graduation. I was excited to walk across the stage while the band played for me instead of me playing for other graduates in my previous three years. That was not the case. I missed performing my last high school concert, receiving my scholarship awards on stage, watching my friends play sports and perform in theater, and I got to walk across the stage six feet apart from the rest of my classmates just to leave the stadium right after. I could not even hug my grandmother after my graduation out of fear of getting her sick.

Although I feel like my senior year of high school and freshman year of college were ripped out of my control, I am still excited to learn what I can while still in school. Jacksonville State has been one of the most welcoming places I have ever spent my time at. I am more than blessed to be able to attend college. Since my classes are now online, it is solely up to me to make sure I get the best of my education. Responsibility is an even bigger part of my life now and I am thankful to still be able to live on the Jacksonville State University campus, meet new people, and gain an education to build my future career.

After adapting to the changes brought forth by the pandemic, I still have hope for my future years in college. If the least I have to do is wear a mask and do my fair share of cleaning and disinfecting, then I hope my peers can do the same so our country can recover and be relieved in the future. I am going to continue to do my best in school and just stay hopeful.

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