By: Will D. Smith
We all have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. However, the impact of the pandemic and its consequences were felt differently depending on our status as individuals and as members of society. While some tried to adapt to working online, homeschooling their children and ordering food via Instacart, others had no choice but to be exposed to the virus in order to keep society functioning. Our different social identities and the social groups we belong to have determined our inclusion within society and, by extension, our vulnerability to epidemics.
Covid-19 has been responsible for over six million deaths and counting according to the most recent statistics from the World Health Organization. While this virus greatly impacted all of our lives, people started to come together during this very tough time, even in the midst of an uprising in racial injustice in the United States. Regardless of not being able to visit friends and family members on birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions, we were still able to connect to our loved ones all over the country via web conferencing platforms, such as Zoom. Not being able to connect with my friends and family was the first of many problems to come. Limited availability of food and supplies was another issue caused by the pandemic. The mask mandate that was put into effect was difficult to get used to in the beginning as it made it very hard to breathe, which was problematic for myself and many others. The last problem that I have faced during the pandemic was virtual learning. I experienced several issues during this time, such as being hacked, slow Wi-Fi, and random website blockings.
Despite these many challenges of the 2020 pandemic, my family and I were able to adapt to this new way of life. Although we managed to make it through that challenging time, the process was very excruciating and at first. Like many, we hoped that there would soon be a cure for COVID, but that wish didn’t come true so we learned to live with the virus. About one year after the pandemic, things started to open back up again. For instance, concerts, basketball games, schools, offices, restaurants, movie theaters, and many more were back to in-person business. Even though we still had to wear masks and use hand sanitizer, my family and I were able to see each other face-to-face and go to many places that we were not able to go during the pandemic.
In 2020, life was very difficult and stressful for many of us, but we still managed to adjust. If there are some things that the pandemic has taught me, it’s that change is constant in life, so never expect things to last forever because you never know what life might throw at you. Lastly, there were some lonely moments during that time, and while I learned that it is okay to be by yourself, it’s important to also be around our loved ones to feel less isolated during dark times.
This is the third in a series of stories created by Trenton high school students who participated in the "Telling Your Trenton Story" workshop created by the Trenton Journal and Isles Youth Services. Special thank you to Stacy Heading, After School and Outreach Manager for Isles Youth Institute and the Trenton Free Public Library.