365 Days of Chaos

One year since that fateful March 2020. The month where everything went upside down and into a blender. We’ve found new euphemisms for a year that has been chaotic event after chaotic event, from discovering an unknown deadly virus to a search for racial justice to an attack on the capitol. In coming to day 365 (and more), some of us have changed for the better . . . or worse.

2020 could’ve held so much potential. For starters, it was the beginning of a decade which is one of those big milestone sort of things and the number itself is just . . . absolutely glorious. 2020 had an amazing ring to it as well as being visually pleasing. Personally, that was one of the reasons I was excited on that December 31, 2019.

2020 could’ve won the “Year of the Year award.” Holidays like Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and Christmas were on the weekend, which I know that everyone likes.

Overall, 2020 just had so many things going for it.

But noooooooo.

In March 2020, Covid-19 or Coronavirus (whatever floats your boat) was officially declared a pandemic.

pan·​dem·​ic | \ pan-ˈde-mik  \

Occurring over a wide geographical area (such as multiple countries or continents) and typically affecting a significant proportion of the population. Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

This virus took over basically the entire world in less than four months.

The insanity is unreal.

March 5th was the day when my school closed its doors (give or take a couple days), unbeknownst to me that it was going to be till the end of my middle school life.

By the time we hit April, all the schools in NSD had moved online. People had traded their desks for their couch cushions, their lined paper for Google Docs, and their break of dawn bus rides for a simple Zoom link.

Then there was this thing about a UFO—although that barely was ever discussed—seeing that we had more pressing matters.

Around the end of the April, we had found out that we weren’t going back to in-person schooling and finishing up the year online. It took a toll on everyone, especially finding out that we would be returning to school online. Since usually incoming freshmen will get a sort of orientation of the school—seeing the layout, figuring out where your classes are, meeting new people—and get a feel for this new environment, the virtual situation didn’t allow for that arriving high school experience. Although, some could argue that it was better for them. “I moved to Bothell right as school was closing down, and I believed that this [starting school online] allowed me to spend more time to explore my surroundings,” says Israel Emmanuel (‘24) and other freshmen have said that they’ve felt more comfortable asking for help, and that it’s much more chill because as Claire Williams (‘24) put it, “I just get to lay in bed, and [my] assignments I don’t have to do it right away, and teachers are a lot easier on people.”

While others like Gracie Booker (‘24) would say with virtual schooling, it limits a lot of other things. “I was looking forward to meeting new people and making new friends,” she says, “but you can’t do that in Zoom.” None of us had anticipated the length of time we would be online, both teachers and students. “I probably would have made more of an emphasis over the summer in exploring variations of online activities and assignments,” says Mr. Nicholas Elliott, when asked if he would change his Biology teaching methods in the beginning, knowing what he does now.

None of us thought this was going to be such a long term thing, but it seems that people have been accepting it, whether they’ve adapted or not, it’s just become life.

Screen time has spiked immensely, between school and attempts to be social. “I hang out with friends less, and over Discord when I do,” Evan Schubert (‘22) stated, bringing to light the fact that even as we’re stuck in our houses, talking (not texting) with friends has become almost obsolete. 

Students have noticed themselves shifting into a different state of mind since last March, most commonly being less motivated and as someone put it,  “The lack of socialization has me in one of the worst spots mentally.”

Others have found places that they have grown in the midst of this chaos. “I’ve had to learn to give myself space and room for failure and remember not to be too harsh on myself. I’ve also learned to advocate more for help and reach out to people if I need assistance.” Kiersten DeKay (‘23). Those who can find a little bit of silver lining, kudos to you.

People have come to almost a full consensus that the lack of socialization has deeply impacted everyone, and keeping in touch requires an insane amount of initiative. I will say that those who feel that they have the stability to put themselves out there, you should!

I wouldn’t say this if I haven’t tried it myself, but try to call someone and if they pick up and you don’t know what to say, tell them I told you to call them and you can blame me. They might sound confused and maybe slightly annoyed, but I believe that we all want to be singled out just a little bit nowadays and be reminded that people still remember you.

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