Sharyna Hariniaina

I was only a freshman when everything happened. I was content going to school. I enjoyed life, and I was a very outgoing person. Then COVID hit. They told us we would be going back to school after two weeks. I was actually happy about it, thinking that it was going to give me a break from school and the opportunity to experience something new. I used quarantine as an opportunity to learn new things such as cooking and doing makeovers. I discovered a whole lot about myself and learned to build my confidence.

After a few months when summer came around, I began to go outside again. I started off taking walks with my friend and learned to skateboard. Still, I was mindful of whom I surrounded myself with due to the global circumstances. Many of my favorite spots were often closed or would not allow people inside. Whenever I removed my mask for even two seconds to drink water, it somehow felt like a privilege for me as well as a sin if I was surrounded by people. Sneezing and coughing were even worse. People would look at me as if I had committed some type of federal crime. Although I was grateful for finally being outside, I often thought to myself how much I missed how things used to be.

I would often create scenarios about what returning to school would be like. Remote learning was something I was already familiar with so I was not too concerned about going back to online schooling, but remote learning began to feel more overwhelming by the day. I was losing my sense of reality, and I was more and more out of tune with myself as the days went by. Although I found myself slowly losing interest in school and the things I normally enjoyed, I did the best I could do to pass the year. School was finally over and I felt my life slightly getting better. I spent most of that summer hanging out with my friends, and doing what I loved. When I was alone, I spent my time sleeping the day away.

When it was announced that we were going back to school, I felt a new sense of hope. I was excited to start fresh and have the opportunity to live a normal life again. I was happy to share those moments with my loved ones. I had not felt pure joy and hope for so long that when I did, I would “overreact.” My excitement and my happiness brought out the inner child in me, especially around those I loved. I was only a freshman when it happened, but COVID helped me accept the joyous kid inside of me.