A Year Ago Today: A Reflection of the Pandemic

As March begins, marking one year since the pandemic began, I think many of us are having mixed emotions.

I wanted to write an article that looked back at the beginning of the pandemic: how things started, the uncertainty we all felt, and the moments that will forever be engraved in our memories. However, when I sat down to write it, I instantly felt stuck. I started by reading day by day recounts of what happened in March, and it gave me chills. While I feel it is important to remember those days, I also feel it is important to not dwell on the past. We have all experienced so much within the past year, and while we can’t forget what happened, we have to remember to move forward.

After a while of struggling to write, I realized that what I wanted to write about was not a recount of what happened (because I am sure we all remember it very clearly), but a reflection of the pandemic.

On Mar. 13, 2020, we were faced with the ultimate uncertainty. Schools shut down, we began working from home, businesses closed, and we saw the beginning of what would turn out to be a long and grueling pandemic. Our very lives as we knew them were uprooted, but we made the best of it. Every little thing that was thrown at us, each one of us conquered, and we are still conquering it. We should be so proud of that. We all had our ups and downs, and even when we thought the worst couldn’t get any better, we continued to move forward and succeed.

A year is a very long time to be going through something. So be proud of yourself for making it this far. And as much as I would not like to admit it, and I am sure many of you would not like to either, we still have quite a road ahead of us, but we can do it. After all, we have made it this far.

Lately, I have been feeling very run down and unmotivated. I feel so tired of the pandemic, and I wish life would return to normal. I’m sure you feel the same. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to look at things in a positive light, and ways to feel less angry about still being stuck in this pandemic.

Earlier this year I had the assignment to pick a word that encompasses the year. The word I picked was optimistic. I choose this word because after all the challenges we faced, and all the times I felt like things were not going to get better, I thought it was important to remember the positives and be optimistic. We have already faced challenges this year, and there are certainly many more to come, but if we are going to get through it we have to be optimistic. So, take the time to reflect and understand what being optimistic means to you.

I realized that we have come a long way since Mar. 13. Back in March, we knew very little about the virus. I remember feeling scared not knowing what the coming days would look like or if we would get to go back to school. A lot of us felt this way too, as we bought stores out of toilet paper.

Now, nearly a year later, we have two approved vaccines and there are more on the way. We know that wearing masks and practicing social distancing helps to slow the spread. We have gotten the chance to do all the things we wish we could do if we only had the time. We have gotten to spend countless hours with our families that we wouldn’t otherwise have gotten the opportunity to have.

So, as we approach the one year mark since the start of the pandemic, remember those uncertain times. Remember the empty store shelves and the empty streets. Remember the puzzles you built, the whipped coffee you made, and the tens of thousands of TikToks you watched. Remember the health care workers who are still working to take care of us all.

Then, remind yourself of how far we have come. The immense strides we have taken in the pandemic. And remind yourself of the personal accomplishments you have made throughout the year. Whether they were small or large, you accomplished things and that is something to be proud of.

We all had very different experiences this year, and there is not a right or a wrong way to look at it. What matters is that we take the time to reflect. Reflect on everything we have accomplished as a population and on an individual level. Reflect on the challenges and the struggles, but also the major strides. And we must use this reflection to motivate ourselves because we are almost through to the other side.

Everything does not go away just because it has been a year, so as we approach March and you are reflecting on the rollercoaster of a year it has been, and when you are finding yourself frustrated and tired of living in unprecedented times, remind yourself of the good that has happened, and remember to be optimistic.