To the relationship I never asked for and could have honestly done without, happy one year anniversary to the awful, horrid, wish-we-never-reached-this-point Covid-19. I’d say many happy wishes, but I’m beginning to understand that Covid-19’s version of joy is much more different than mine.
A year ago, my friends and I went to Valley Forge Park, all of us on our spring break (about to receive an email about an extension that would make us happy in the moment), wearing our cutest outfits as we took the most adorable pictures before walking around, bare faced, definitely not six feet apart. A year ago, my dance team and I planned to go to California for our dance competition, excited for our hard work during our gruelling practices to finally be showcased on stage across the country. A year ago, I was stressing about my Calculus 2 midterm and hoping I wouldn’t fail (same concern, different class).
11 months ago, I was celebrating my birthday with my friends in their cars, honking and driving around the parking lot like a parade as they wished me happy birthday. 11 months ago, I was writing a letter to myself (a little birthday gift to future me that I started when I was 16, but that’s a different story) telling a 20 year old future me all about the pandemic as if I wouldn’t live through it for another year. Here I am now, almost going on 20 and there’s still a global pandemic.
When the pandemic first started, I don’t think I (or many others) had understood the full extent of the pandemic. In the beginning, I truly thought that lockdown would be over within the two weeks they had told us. But as the weeks went by and lockdown kept getting extended, it started to hit me — this pandemic might be around longer than I thought it would be. And so as lockdown kept getting extended, I found myself attending zoom parties with my friends, entertaining ourselves with online games such as Pictionary and Cards Against Humanity. I found myself spending the majority of my time annoying my sister and realizing that I enjoyed her company more than I would ever care to admit. I found myself addicted to TikTok and trying out all the trends they told me to try from whipped coffee to Chloe Ting workouts and of course, all the TikTok dances.
While many others felt like their mental health took a toll during the beginning of the pandemic, I found myself being more accepting of myself and happier. It seemed that spending all that time by myself over the summer made me appreciate the person I was.
And then first semester of sophomore year started.
The more time I spent staring at my computer screen, drowning in work as my professors finally figured out how to work around zoom and trying to understand a way to manage the workload that seemed to have increased exponentially from last year. All the work I put into myself over the summer seemed to crumble away as the semester went on and once finals season came through, it completely collapsed. The endless nights of crying myself to sleep, wondering if I can survive the rest of college if it continued to go on like this made me appreciate the spring semester of my freshman year. I was done, tired and ready for winter break to start.
As blissful as winter break was, a good escape from the stress that I dealt with in college, I knew spring semester would start in no time and I could not go through another repeat of the fall semester. I needed the spring semester to be better, for me to be stable and happy and no longer wondering if I was truly going to achieve the goals I had set for myself.
I wish I could end this on a happy note. I wish that I could tell you that the spring semester was different. That it was a hundred times better than what I dealt with the fall semester. But my relationship with Covid does not follow those fairytale endings. It’s toxic and I can’t wait to be rid of it.
Now, I believe I’m reaching my point with the pandemic where I am just tired. Tired of seeing people on social media hanging out with their friends as I try my best to follow the rules. Tired of feeling like my college experience is fading away. Tired of trying in my classes. Tired of being hopeful when it constantly seems to be taken away.
I am tired.
But as tired as I am, I am trying. I can see my mental health deteriorating. I understand that the pressure of classes, activities and life, in general, is beginning to weigh me down more than it ever has. And so I know I need to try to make myself happier.
Here is where the sun shines a little on this grim articles.
I’ve started reading more. More than I ever had before. I found my love for reading once again over the summer and the happiness that I experienced escaping to a new world made me realize that I needed to read to keep myself sane. I started working out again. I’ve been working out in small increments and hopefully, I’ll be able to work out as much as I used to in the summer. I’ve been holding late night dance parties for myself once more. Playing any kind of music (right now, it has been the Shrek soundtrack), as I dance around the apartment. I’m spending more time with my friends, leaving the apartment more often because I know that I can no longer stay inside, going out for walks and having cute photoshoots. I’m beginning to tell myself that I am doing the best I can.
Although I am trying to find happiness, I would like to emphasize something to Covid-19:
I do not love you. It is time for us to break up and for you to free yourself of this world and be gone. One year has been too much for me and I can no longer deal with your presence.
Happy one year anniversary Covid-19. You did your damage. Please leave now.