March 13th marked the one year anniversary of the lockdown in Montreal. This past year, I learned a lot. There were highs, but also incredible lows. I believe we all went through our own difficulties related to the pandemic. However, throughout the year, some things took place which taught me lessons that I don’t think I would have if it weren’t for the pandemic. Here is my reflection on the past year, living through a pandemic.
The first couple of months were very difficult. The whole world was getting used to the idea that there was a virus going around the entire world and taking millions of lives with it. It was definitely very scary and overwhelming. Almost overnight, like many others, I went from going to school every day, to having online classes for the rest of the semester. We all had to quickly learn how to adjust our way of studying and completing schoolwork. Personally, even though it was quite the shock moving from in-person to online, I found myself learning how to adapt fairly quickly. I was surprised by how fast I adapted to remote learning.
Once we reached the month of May, that was when I started realizing that lockdown was going to last longer than just a couple of months. By this time, the number of cases as well as the number of deaths were getting really high and I began understanding that we were going to be living with this for a long time. At this point in the year, I was also getting stressed out with work. The summer day camps were still not sure if they were going to open. My summer job is my life, I love it. I work almost all year for our eight weeks at camp. Therefore, being told that camp might be closed during summer was really devastating.
Putting all that stress aside, I also learned many new things at that same time, around the month of May. I was picking up painting, I was reading three to four books a week, I was going for runs. I had a lot of time to myself, so I tried to make the best of it. I do believe that being a Leisure and Recreation student did come in handy during this time. Knowing how to use my free time was something I appreciated so much. The weather was also getting warmer so I was able to spend a lot of time outside.
I also had my first birthday in lockdown in May. That was definitely something I never thought I would experience. However, it was actually quite enjoyable. I had some people come to my house in their cars and wish me a happy birthday and my family and I watched some movies all day since it was raining. Considering it was a lockdown birthday, I enjoyed it.
A few weeks later, I was told that camps were going to open, but with a lot of restrictions. iI took my fellow supervisors and me about a month to organize the rooms, groups, and training. Usually, it took us maybe two weeks to organize those particular things. It was a little weird, but we were able to adapt, and we had an amazing summer. I had a great team and a great group of kids. We ended the summer with no COVID-19 cases. No one even got tested during the entire summer. That is one of my biggest accomplishments of the year. Offering our services while keeping the kids safe for eight weeks was stressful, but oddly enough, it was probably one of my favorite summers at camp I have had so far.
Once the fall rolled around, I think I was getting my hopes up a little too high. Since the cases were so low during the summer and the rules were slowly getting less strict, I thought maybe I would be able to go on campus by the winter of 2021. However, that quickly changed. By October, cases were getting high again, and things were getting out of control yet again. I think this was when it hit me mentally. My mental health always struggles more around this time of the year, but it was much worse this time. I was not going to classes, I ignored my friends, and I was fighting a lot with my family. It took me a while, but I decided to go back to therapy because it was getting so bad.
Now that we are in March, I feel much better. Going on a year with COVID-19, I learned a lot. Whether that would be about myself, school, or work, I think my biggest takeaway from all of this would be that everything has a solution. I have become very resourceful. I have also been aware of how lucky I have been during this pandemic and things I have been taking for granted. It was a challenging year, but somehow I am grateful for the time that has been given to me. I needed that time to grow and learn.