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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

March 2020 was a time in our history that no one will ever forget. The COVID-19 pandemic was spreading into a global crisis. The new cases, rising death toll, and quick symptoms had the virus spreading like wildfire, so not only did businesses close, but our whole society was forced to stay in their homes until it was safe.  

At the time, I was a junior in high school. I was so insanely stressed between college applications and my difficult classes, so of course I was happy about getting two weeks off school! I spent my days lounging around my house carelessly with my head stuck in my phone all day or just endlessly napping until my body forced itself to get up. I was young, dumb, and incredibly tone-deaf to what was going on around me at the time.  

As the virus ripped through the states and more people were being affected, the weight of the situation finally sunk in. Those first two weeks off from school quickly transformed into months stuck inside with nothing to do.  

Those months of constant self-isolation and stress about what was affecting everyone at the time were causing my mental health to deteriorate rapidly. I would spend hours of the day locked in my room, staring into oblivion with no motivation. My anxiety increased as days went on, which made me cower in fear whenever my teachers asked me a question over Zoom. I had no clue what was going on or why my brain was poisoning itself with my negative thoughts. Three years later, society returned to our version of the new normal, so why am I stuck with my pandemic thinking?  

Even before the pandemic, I was not always the most social person in the world. I always kept to myself and only spoke when I was spoken to. I would not say that I was anxious when it came to the environment around me, but I just found comfort in being alone. However, after experiencing a time when we had no option but to be enclosed within ourselves, my mind completely flipped.  

We quickly went from being surrounded by many bodies and conversations to only speaking to our peers through the screen. Both work and school were only available virtually and social aspects of our lives were disrupted. I already was a person whose shyness served as a roadblock in my social life. Fast forward three years, and now I can barely hold a proper connection with someone without stumbling all over my words. That is a very true and new reality that a lot of people, especially the youth who were growing up in the pandemic, have to face.  

I hate the new person that I morphed into while in quarantine. The person who worries more about people’s opinion. The person who swears everyone is judging her at first glance. The person who cannot hold a one-on-one convo without word-vomit jumbling up whatever I wanted to say. It is a hard lifestyle to break out of because there is no easy way to bypass developing anxiety. I want to be able to be completely comfortable in a public setting without worrying for the worst. It will take a lot of effort from me to step out of my comfort zone and breakdown the barriers holding me back, but that is not out of reach. The pandemic put a strain on all of us in very different ways, but it is our time to push past our fears and live the life we deserve. 

Ashley Green

Temple '25

Hey everyone, my name is Ashley Green. Currently, I am a junior at Temple University with a major in Journalism and a minor in Political Science. I am also a staff writer for the Her Campus Temple University health section and will dive more into focusing on how our mental health and wellness should be addressed in our everyday lifestyle. In my free time, I love binge watching horror movies and trying to tackle my lengthy TBR book collection.