Let’s rewind to New Years’ Eve 2019. I was in Hoboken, New Jersey at a house party filled to the brim with random college students and all of my best friends by my side. The only concern we had was how we were going to get home and what our 4 a.m. drunken meal would be. We were so naive about what was to come…
I planned to spend 2020 studying abroad, squished next to strangers at Red Rocks, and riding the packed subway to my internship in New York City. None of this even came close to happening.
The first few months of 2020 were nothing special and very typical for the start of the new year and semester. I was working at an amazing nonprofit consignment store, physically going to my classes, and having the time of my life in Boulder with my best friends.
I remember hearing about the coronavirus in early February and thinking nothing of it. My friends and I made multiple jokes about the disease that started from someone eating a bat. We never imagined it would make its way to America. Well, we were clearly very wrong.
Life went from normal and mundane to complete chaos overnight. I woke up on March 15 to rumors that the entire country was going to shut down and that we were all going to be stuck in our houses indefinitely. Lead by panic, I booked a flight and was on a plane back to New Jersey by that evening. No one had any idea what was going on. I remember being scared, confused, and mesmerized by the few individuals that were already wearing masks at the airport.
For the next two months, life in New Jersey was slow and extremely repetitive. At the time, my house was under complete renovation. Because of the coronavirus and just how little everyone knew about it at the time, construction was halted and left my family and me with a gaping hole in our kitchen. That was not fun, and I cried a lot.
It took me a while to make amends with my situation and accept everything that was going on. I felt like I was not in control of my own life and that everyone around me was making decisions for me.
In hopes to escape my quarantine funk, I started running. And I ran a lot. The only time I was able to leave my house was to run, so I made the most of that time. I became almost addicted. Fast forward 10 months later, running has become something that I don’t think I could live without and part of my everyday routine. I went from being able to hardly run a mile and drowning in a toxic mindset about working out from my soccer days to training for a marathon. That is still crazy to say out loud.
It took a while, but I slowly adjusted to a COVID-19 ridden lifestyle living under my parents’ (partial) roof.
I was able to spend some much needed time with my family. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, my family and I would not have been together during summer, especially for as long as we were. I was even able to spend two weeks at the Jersey Shore with my family and spend quality time with my childhood dog in his final months. I ended the spring 2020 semester with a 4.0 and made the Dean’s List.
I no longer had a summer internship or any job for that matter, but I was making the best of my situation. And DoorDashing my little heart away to make some spending money.
After all the family time and time spent in my childhood home, I had a hard time leaving for the semester and heading back to Boulder. I had no idea what the semester would bring, but I was excited to see my friends for the first time in what felt like forever.
The semester was different but in a good way. Instead of running amock around Florence, I was spending quality time with a small group of friends and enjoying every minute of it. That was until my entire friend group and I all tested positive for COVID-19 at the same time.
I will never forget the two weeks I spent infected with the coronavirus, quarantined in my tiny college bedroom. I definitely had it the worst out of all my friends, and out of everyone I previously knew who had once had it. I had every symptom in the book to the highest degree. For the first week after testing positive, I could hardly lift my head. It was horrible. It was incredibly scary. I felt hopeless and helpless.
I was, and still am, an incredibly healthy young adult with no previously known medical conditions. I have no idea how I got it or why my body reacted the way it did. I do know that I never want to experience that again and have been very vocal about sharing my experience with others and take precautions to ensure that it never happens again. You have no idea how your body is going to react to the virus. And trust me, it is not worth finding out.
After my two-week quarantine, it took me a while to feel back to normal. I had trouble breathing for almost a month after my quarantine was over and was tired from doing the most mundane tasks.
The rest of the semester flew by. The next thing I knew it was winter break and I was driving my little Honda twenty-six hours back to New Jersey and saying goodbye once again. And did I mention that I made the Dean’s List again?!
The holiday season was very different than years past. Instead of spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with my huge extended family, I stayed home with my immediate family. Usually, the holidays are incredibly stressful, but it was nice to decompress from such a hectic year in the comfort of my own home.
I ended 2020 nothing like how I started it. I feel like an entirely different person. I am significantly more healthy, fit, and conscious about what I put into my body. I lost and gained friends and finally found my group of people that are forever friends. I was able to spend so much time with my family, which at the time was a tad annoying, but now I am so grateful for all those family movie nights.
2020 tested me in every way possible. But, through all the failures, tears, triumphs, and losses, I rose as a better person. The only thing you can do is take everything day by day because you truly never know what tomorrow will bring.