EDITOR’S NOTE: Drew Hill is a 15-year-old sophomore at Forsyth Central High School in Georgia. Drew is a student-athlete on the Junior Varsity Lady Dawgs lacrosse team. She is also a member of the FCHS DECA competition team. On Sundays, she leads a group of sixth-grade girls in Transit, the middle school program at Browns Bridge Church.
My life was turned upside down when the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic was unleashed on our country. When I first heard the news about this deadly virus, I didn’t think much of it. I don’t think any of us did. Little did I know that what was to come would affect many generations. What I thought was “just another version of the flu” turned out to shake up the entire world.
Everything around me was starting to get canceled. Just like that, my sophomore year of high school was over in the blink of an eye. Virtual classes, prom, even graduation? I was unable to say goodbye to teachers and friends, and only able to communicate with people through a screen. None of this seemed real to me. It felt like I was living in a movie that I couldn’t get out of.
On April 5, a stay-at-home order was issued. When my parents told me the news, I thought to myself, “what does this mean?” “It's not a big deal,” I was told, “it can't go on for very long.” Then two weeks passed, then three. I was starting to feel lonely and anxious. Anxious about not knowing when I was going to be able to see my grandparents again. Anxious when I walked down the empty aisles of the grocery store. Anxious about not knowing when I would be able to shake people’s hands again. Anxious about not knowing if life was ever going to be the same again.
I tried to make the best of being quarantined, and to take the time to do positive things. I tried learning new hobbies, doing crafts, cleaning, and baking. But distracting myself from the anxiety I was feeling only worked for so long. “How much longer can we keep living like this?” I would think to myself. There were days I would lay in my bed all day. I had no motivation to do anything, because the world that I knew for the past 16 years was suddenly changing.
As summer was approaching, things were finally starting to feel normal again. Restaurants and stores were re-opening; I was able to see my friends again, and to return to summer sports. As I got excited to enjoy what was supposed to be the best summer ever, though, I got news that changed everything. The summer camp I work at as a counselor was canceled. I was devastated.
I started thinking about all the things the coronavirus took away from me, all the things I would miss out on. I thought about how COVID-19 robbed me of what were supposed to be the best years of my life. Then I had a revelation. With everything I lost due to the pandemic, I also gained so much from it. Coronavirus taught me not to take life for granted. Things that I used to dread doing, like going to school, I will never complain about again. COVID also taught me to make the best out of every trial in life.
Remember to give your loved ones a hug and to live every second to the fullest, because we never know how much time we have.