I remember so vividly, the rainy Friday of March 13th. My friends and I were eating lunch in the cafeteria, having our usual conversation. Even though we were aware of the deadly virus that reached our country, and with a few cases in our very city, we honestly did not care. Then, everyone suddenly received an emergency text message from the district announcing the closure of schools until further notice. We were literally so happy and satisfied....Thanks to the virus we wouldn’t have to get ready for school and could be stuck in the comfort of our own homes. Even the whole idea of online school seemed so surreal and exciting. Little did I know, that day would be the last day of my sophomore year at high school. This was the beginning of a global pandemic that would transform us forever.
As I am writing this while looking back at that day, I am embarrassed for not taking the beginning stages of the worldwide pandemic seriously. All the selfies and snapchat stories me and my friends posted about “no more school” was beyond ignorant and truly selfish. I didn’t realize how much COVID-19 was affecting thousands of people, but now I can proudly say that I changed my whole perspective. This quarantine, I gained more knowledge regarding the virus, and now understand to always take serious precautions to stay healthy and safe, to protect my family, others, and myself. I show more gratitude and appreciation to front line workers who are fighting to save lives, and have more recognition and sympathy to those that are affected. I was also able to get insight and became a voice for various events also occurring, such as the black lives matter movement, as well as many other people of different races around the world struggling through oppression, abuse, and more. I am now educated and taught to amplify my voice and fight for what’s right. Finally, I wear a mask, recognizing that the world will never be the same. This is my story, and it’s one I’ll
— Ashley Woo, 16