Freshman Year: Pandemic Style — Mississippi
When COVID-19 was just something that was a reality only in other countries, I was 13 years-old in 8th grade. I never thought that a virus would affect me as much as it has. Even though the pandemic has negatively affected many people in so many ways, I feel like everyone has learned things from it. Starting high school is scary for everyone. Freshman year is full of firsts; I have grown so much over this year that I don’t recognize the girl I was on March 13th, my last day in middle school. This pandemic has called for personal reflection and self-discovery from everyone. Living in Mississippi, masks and the pandemic are treated as a political topic. I personally have discovered that wearing a mask shouldn’t reflect who you voted for in this year’s election. Wearing a mask should be something you do because you care about people’s well being.
A phrase I have heard a lot during the pandemic is “this is our new normal,” referring to masks, online learning, and working from home. I appreciate the way it is supposed to make us feel more comfortable in getting used to the new things we’ve had to learn to live with, but I think it’s important to acknowledge exactly what has changed with the pandemic. Many say that people are more divided now than ever, but I would argue that we as a country have more in common than ever right now. Whether we like it or not, we are all in the same boat. Recently, I’ve gone through lots of personal changes and it has made me realize that everyone is just trying to get by, just like me. Regardless of all the negatives that have come with the pandemic, what we’ve learned from it has and will positively affect us for our entire lives.
— Macy Ellis, 14