Behind the Mask
Layers — Vermont
There were many layers to my pandemic experience. In the time prior to quarantine I did everything I enjoyed and took all of it for granted, like most people have come to realize. In the beginning of the pandemic, I was very naive and didn’t really think it was a big deal, but as lockdown stretched on, I realized the severity of the position we were in, and its benefits and detrimental effects.
In the time of lockdown, I discovered what my true values are and what the people around me value as well. I have learned more about my ancestry and identity through the Black Lives Matter movement; I have realized how important family really is; and I've discovered things about myself that I wouldn't have known otherwise. I didn't even know I had an intense R&B appreciation!
On the other hand, the pandemic has also taken things from me. It has changed my mentality and my mood. It is so easy to lose a sense of identity when every day feels the same. Every time the news comes on it shows another layer of not only our society, but also our government and its system, and most importantly the way people act when facing adversity. Honestly, very depressing times.
It is hard to come to terms with the issues that we endure. COVID-19 has started a period of reflection in which we can calculate our next steps. Thankfully, we are starting to head in the right direction, where no more lives will be lost out of poor administration and we are slowly returning to our new normal. We are starting to realize that steps can be taken to not only address the virus, but also the health of our society and its citizens. COVID-19 was Mother Earth’s last resort to help us before we’ve gone too far.
— Paula Donahue, 16
South Burlington, Vermont