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COVID-19, COVID or Corona; the word we hear every-day, something that has become a clear reality that we are living with this new organism with a high level of destruction. It is most likely that every child or teen at school has officially experienced online school or has missed out on events such as prom. Luckily for me I still had prom but just short of a week later my senior year changed and online school began and more time at home and less time with friends.  

When the first official case of COVID in South Africa was announced on Thursday March 5th 2020 no one knew what to do, a week and a half later school was cut short and students were sent home. About a week- from that, on Thursday March 26th-,a nationwide lockdown was put in place. We were all stuck at home. At this point we watched the cases go up across the world not knowing what to think. Our freedom was stripped away from us, no one was allowed to go for a run on the street, essential services only all non-essential items in the stores were tapped off, a curfew put in place and of course needing a travel permit to travel from place to place. I would say that the lockdown in South Africa was a lockdown I was not expecting. 

It became the norm to wear a mask in public, sanitize your hands every time you walked into a store and at some points even have your temperature taken before entering. The mask mandate in South Africa was so intense that if you were found without a mask in public, you risked getting arrested or fined. I could understand why the lockdown was so intense as it was to keep our nation safe and prevent a surge in cases.  

In April 2021, I moved to the United States, where I was shocked at first on how “relaxed” everyone was about COVID, how there were very few mask mandates and you could enter a store without a mask. I was terrified I would immediately get COVID and become ill. I soon adjusted to the new ways and I must say I have enjoyed having that slight bit of freedom back, not having a curfew, being able to start college and having in person classes as some universities in South Africa have not returned to in person classes yet. 

The best moment has been being able to attend events such as the Maroon 5 concert, something I never thought would happen until COVID had been completely dealt with. I had forgotten what it was like to go out with friends and have a good time. 

It’s amazing how we all share the same world but manage stressful situations differently. It’s safe to say we all want to move on from this and have life return to normal again.

Lauren is an international student majoring in Hospitality Management. She is a very interactive, positive and friendly young lady who always gives of her best. She always wears a smile on her face and tries brighten up everyone’s day. She is very passionate about her home country and educating many young people about her beloved country
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