Looking Back and Looking Forward: One Student Reflects on a Year of Uncertainty and Hope

A little over a year ago, it would have been impossible to imagine that we would be going through such a historical event as a global pandemic! It is certain that this unusual year will remain a major event in our recollections, as well as to illustrate how ordinary people have been able to adapt and cope with many of these new situations.

When news of the pandemic first came about, it had initially appeared unlikely to many of us that it would have had any major impact on most of us. Likewise, it still seemed unbelievable of what impact it would have on all of our lives even when it was first announced that we would begin online learning in March of 2020. I still remember feeling a sense of deep concern and even slight disbelief when this was first announced. Looking back, I can see that I was right to have wanted to be careful (and to still be), yet if I were able to tell my past self anything I would certainly have mentioned the importance of optimism and hope. Though we are all still currently in the midst of the pandemic, it has been demonstrated time and time again that community efforts, general kindness, and human spirit have and will continue to prevail.

In addition to wearing masks, one of the major changes that came with the pandemic was the necessity for social distancing. Because of this, it is fortunate that we live in an age where technology allows us to communicate and function nearly as well as before, both in terms of maintaining friendships and continuing work and school. Although there have always been some minor obstacles that come alongside technology, such as unstable connections and lagging video calls, it has acted as a relatively adequate substitute for what we would have normally had. Though these new changes may have seemed drastic at first, for better or worse, after a year these major changes seemed to have faded in comparison and have become the “new normal” as part of the process of adaptation. Despite being unable to interact as often with my friends in-person, I have found that I have been able to spend more time with my family, as well as continue to improve in and pursue more of my own hobbies, such as practicing my instrument or creating art, which is an experience that I know many other people share. 

Although I was fortunate enough to not have experienced any personal loss or financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic, I certainly sympathize with anyone who has during such a difficult and unprecedented time. Whether it be essential workers, school staff, or medical workers, the uncertainty faced by the world seems much less precarious knowing that there are so many people there to help and support us. 

After so many months of unexpected twists and turns, it can feel easy to feel disheartened. However, it is important to remember that there are grounds for hope. Looking back, it has been no insignificant challenge for all of us, and it is crucial for everyone to realize how far we have come, both as individuals and a community. Though it is likely that there will still be more obstacles as we continue into spring once again, it is certain that the same spirit of perseverance and resilience will allow us to continue as well as we did before.