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A Personal Reflection on the 2020 Pandemic and How it Changed Me

By Lizz Panchyk

As time goes on, we begin to leave the past behind. What is unreal is that Covid started its initial lockdown this month three years ago. Three years ago, I was a senior in high school, looking forward to all the wonderful things ahead of me. I had just celebrated my 18th birthday, and was accepted by Adelphi University, which I committed to just a few weeks after. I had a senior trip to Disney World I couldn't wait for, and my high school’s senior dance and boat trip—not to mention graduation itself.

March 29, 2020 was when I committed to Adelphi, assuming I’d start that fall in person.

March 11, 2020 was the day we were told that school would be closed for two weeks. Little did I know that this would be my last day as a senior, my last day of high school. I did not yet know how much this pandemic would affect my life, and everyone else’s.

The graduates of 2020, no matter what age, lost a lot. There was only so much that could be done for us when everyone was so unsure of what the world was going through. For me, that meant the loss of two major high school trip opportunities and a whole graduation. I lost friendships, patience and hope. I know some people lost way more.

The pandemic and lockdown feels like a fever dream. Dalgona coffee was popular, TikToks were everywhere and people started to enjoy the outdoors a lot more (especially if they were stuck in the house with their family). In a way, the pandemic led us all to be the people we are today. I know how much it affected me, and the friends I had at the time. That forced space between you and others can do a lot, whether good or bad. I know I spent a lot of time on FaceTime and Zoom with groups of friends. We'd play online games like Sims or Jackbox all night long.

The time I started at Adelphi was a strange time; no in-person orientation over the summer, and only one of my classes took place in a classroom. I was barely on campus, and the University Center (UC) was not yet refurbished to its new and beautiful self. It was a simple lifestyle where I was in and out, with barely any time to socialize at all. Spring semester of 2021 I was completely online, and although the UC had finally been completed, I was not on campus enough to enjoy it.

I do regret not spending more time on campus, as it has become a second home to me. Being a first-year at a time where everything in the world was so weird and unknown was a very strange experience. But in a way it allowed me to open up to the right people along the way. I was able to grow each semester, and now, being so close to being a senior, it doesn't feel quite right being that I missed out on so much. Although I didn't get the full opportunity to experience my first year at college in a non-pandemic world, I do not regret the experience I had. Everyone's experiences were different, especially those of different class years, but I know it molded me into the person I am and into the senior that I almost am.

In spring of 2022, we were finally able to take off our masks and truly see each other. What a strange world to be living in that we barely saw each other's faces.

Starting my first year during the height of Covid has allowed me to be grateful for all the people and things in my life that I have now. Even for the little things, like having in-person classes. I complain about having to drive to school five days a week, but I know that two years ago, not only was that not the case, but I didn't have that opportunity. Now, being on campus, I truly get to be ON campus—with friends, new and old, with community, with friendly, familiar faces and classrooms full of knowledge. I truly do believe everything happens for a reason, and everyone I've met along the way were the people I was meant to meet.

Three years felt like a hundred, but here I am, a junior, reflecting back on a monumental moment in the world, one that I wrote about continuously in the news section of this very paper. And here we are, at our best attempts to keep healthy, keep going and finally take control of our own lives.

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