In March of 2020, the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic. Fast forward to a year later and the world has been living a nightmare. No one assumed this would last as long as it has, and just about everyone has been affected by the unthinkable. This past year has been filled with masks, sanitizer and staying indoors with those close to you. Even then, half a million Americans have passed due to this virus. Some of the people affected, aside from those struggling with the illness, are students.
Students have spent the past year adapting to online learning, participating in their sports socially distant, wondering when they will return to school and so much more. Here at Canisius, we have been able to return to a hybrid format, while also providing a fully online option for those who feel uncomfortable. This very different and weird phase has mentally challenged both students and staff. Senior student-athlete Kelsey Childress has faced the struggles of quarantine after quarantine along with a tremendous amount of change when it came to her sport and academics.
One of the biggest changes in her everyday routine was learning to hold herself accountable with her work. In a normal year Childress was in a set routine that didn’t allow for getting lost on her phone or finding other things to distract her. This year she found herself constantly getting lost in the extra time she had because of online classes and shortened practices. In losing a lot of pool and class time, Childress felt a huge difference in her mental health. For as long as she can remember, she has been in the pool consistently and this year, in having to quarantine multiple times, she felt very lost without it.
“It was really tough when I returned to school because it was hard for me to find the motivation to get excited about our season when there was so much unknown,” she said. “We were practicing one week, then we would be on-pause for two. It was so on-again, off-again that it was really detrimental to both my physical and mental health because I didn’t have a consistent routine.”
Luckily the vaccine has been making its way around to those who need it. Students all over have been finding ways to get the vaccine and return back to normal life, it’s a very big moment that can allow the world to eventually return back to normal. Even with this hope for normal life, Childress still feels hesitant about what life could be like after the pandemic.
“I feel hopeful, but I’m also very wary. I often find myself looking back through my camera roll at pre-COVID pictures and videos, and I get an uneasy feeling thinking about everything we used to do and some of the places we used to go,” Childresss said. “I’m worried that this pandemic will have lasting effects on my perception of certain events and gatherings, and I hope that my uncomfortableness decreases with time.”
Even with the weary feelings, Childress has her first vaccination planned for early April. She calls it her “miracle immunity potion.” She knows it won’t totally protect her but she’s excited to feel more comfortable in group settings and being around her family. Childress is just one student of many living through a year long pandemic that has brought change after change to their education.