COVID LESSONS: Mental health, new hobbies, and hand sanitizer are have quickly become the new normal admits the pandemic. (Graphic by: Olivia Shirk)
COVID LESSONS: Mental health, new hobbies, and hand sanitizer are have quickly become the new normal admits the pandemic.

Graphic by: Olivia Shirk

A letter to COVID-19

February 2, 2021

Dear COVID-19,

To make a long story short, you have made 2020 the most frustrating year for many people (insert your own adjective here). But I also believe you’ve taught us some essential life lessons through the course of the year.

Looking back to any ‘pre-covid’ activities that were considered ‘normal’ boggles my mind. Just a few months ago people were packed like sardines into arenas and concert venues, cheering on their favorite sports team or singing  with their favorite artist. Looking at old videos and pictures on my camera roll of past concerts is like looking at an ad from the 1950s and thinking ‘how were they even allowed to do this?!’. It’s amazing, and slightly concerning, to see massive amounts of people crammed together all singing together and sweating on each other, it now seems like a distant memory. As an avid concert lover, it is disappointing to know that I won’t be able to go to one for a while, but maybe it’s a good thing. By taking a step back, I realize events like that were probably super spreader events for other illnesses, so thanks COVID.

This might sound gross but, throughout the last year, I don’t think I have washed my hands this much, like ever. With the constant reminder to wash your hands thoroughly and the nearest hand sanitizer only about 15 feet away, I feel like I’ll never get sick again. It is crazy to think how many times I heard people in the hallway at school say ‘oh don’t worry it’s just a cough’ or ‘I can’t stay home sick today because I have a test’. So thanks, COVID for reminding everyone of the importance of washing your hands and keeping away from others while sick. 

At the beginning of 2020, I was, to say the least, miserable. I was overwhelmed, overworked, and all-around unhappy. It was difficult for me to get out of bed, go to school, and do pretty much any basic task. On March 13th, when school was officially let out, I felt that I was one of the only people that was thrilled to be out of school. Within those three weeks of freedom, my happiness had skyrocketed. I was starting new hobbies, taking time for myself, and even dancing around in the kitchen (something both my parents said they haven’t seen me do in a long time). Throughout the next few months, I learned how to embroider and tried new recipes. I spent time with family and I found my love for reading again. The pandemic has taught me that it is okay to take a break and to take time for myself. I finally was able to do things on my own time and to learn new things. So thank you, COVID, for teaching me the importance of taking time for myself. 

On the other hand, I saw my friends struggling more than ever through the pandemic and quarantining. While I was happier than I ever had been, I knew others around me were dealing with their own mental health issues. Checking up on our friends and family during these times is the best thing we can do for others. Just sending a quick text or leaving a voicemail can make someone’s day. This has especially been difficult for people battling different mental health issues and for the high risk older generations. So thank you COVID for teaching me the value of reaching out to others in times of need.

And COVID, while you have taught me all of these lessons, I truly hope I never see you again. 

Good riddance, Olivia Shirk

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