Throughout my high school experience, I have been always waiting for my senior year. The pep rally, homecoming, spirit week, prom, and graduation. Like most high schoolers, I believe that senior year is how we go out with a bang. When it was announced that we would be taking a two-week break from school at the time the COVID-19 pandemic first started, that was what we still expected: to leave for two weeks and then come back to normal. Little did we know it would be a full year before things started to feel like we may go back to normal. I am very fortunate since I kept my job and my parents stayed healthy throughout these challenging times. My father is a paramedic, so during the heat of the pandemic, him going to work was nerve racking for my family. Likewise, I work in a grocery store and was coming into contact with people all the time, which was stressful.
It is wild that I am living through experiences that will be in the next generation’s history books. From the presidential election to the COVID-19 pandemic, from the worldwide shutdown to the BLM movement. The country was torn apart during this last year, jobs were lost, so many people lost their lives to the virus. I find it funny that for me it’s hard to imagine a time when we didn’t wear masks. If you go out without one, sometimes you feel naked. I don’t know if we will ever be able to go back to the way things were completely. To put into perspective how mask wearing became a norm, masks went from the plain blue ones, to all sorts of patterns and colors. If you think of a pattern, there is a mask made of it. It is scary for me to think about transitioning from high school to college while the world pieces itself back together. I think the world's idea of normal will be drastically different from before.
— Grace Small, 18