Before vs. After: How One Year of COVID-19 Changed Me
By Elora Pharai
I don’t know about you, but I never, in a million years, thought that a global pandemic would happen in our generation. Whenever I learned about pandemics in history class, that was all I thought they were; a thing of the past left far behind and out of reach. So naturally, when our government called for a two-week extension of the March Break last year, I thought that it would be two weeks, and then life would be back to normal. That we would be able to go to our relatives’ houses, hang out with friends, and go back to physical school learning. Unfortunately, this has not been the case.
Now, one year later into self-isolation in the pandemic, I have begun to notice that it has changed me in especially uncanny ways. I think that I am only beginning to recognize these changes because I never initially viewed the pandemic as something that would be such a big part of my life growing up. I always thought it would simply be a mere few months of staying indoors, but it hasn’t been just that. It has been one whole year. A year of growing, learning, and developing. It has changed my relationships, the way I see the world, and even the way that I have come to see myself. When something happens in your life, it splits it into two: ‘before’ and ‘after.’ Sometimes we think that our lives haven’t changed much; everyday looks the same, but when we look back, everything is radically different. We haven’t hit the ‘after’ sector of this pandemic, but even in the ‘during,’ everything has changed. Below, I have broken down the main areas of my life which the pandemic has transformed.
My Relationships: One thing that the pandemic has changed a lot for me is my relationship with my family, specifically my relationship with my brothers. I have three brothers, two older and one younger, and before the pandemic, we could not even stand to be in the same room with each other. But I guess when you’re forced to spend a lot of time with someone, you grow to like them. I even find myself wanting to spend more time with them, and we definitely do not argue as much. Now we genuinely laugh and have a good time with each other. The pandemic has also impacted my relationships with my friends, both positively and negatively. As we can no longer be dependent on school to keep us in touch with one another, some of us have not directly spoken to each other for months, while others talk every day and make attempts to stay in touch. I think that it is during troubling times that we really begin to see who our real friends are.
My Self View: Self isolation certainly allows for you to have a lot of time to think about yourself. The pandemic hasn’t necessarily changed how I see myself as a person, but more so how I see myself as a student. Before the pandemic, at my home school, I was in the STEAM program (Science Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics). I never excelled in math like most of my peers, and I always wanted to pursue a career in English. I was only in the STEAM program because my elementary school teacher had recommended me for the program and I did not want to drop out because I thought if I did, I would look bad. Most of the time, I felt very insecure about myself and often compared myself to my friends.
I was rather dependent on them at times and needed constant reassurance. However, because of online school and the fact that I no longer have many classes with my friends, I have evidently become more independent and confident in my schoolwork and abilities. However, I do still have my low times where I get heavily anxious about smaller things like deadlines because in online school, anything can go wrong very easily – whether it be a faulty Zoom link or an important email ending up in the trash on accident. I have also noticed that the pandemic and engaging in online school has caused me to become much more distracted in class and procrastinate more than I did before.
All in all, the pandemic has actually brought about a lot of change and growth into my life; some of those changes are positive, while others are negative. I have since realized that no matter what, life is never completely good or bad. Eventually it always comes back to the middle ground.