One Year Later

By Claire Neiberg, English Major / ARYSE Intern

Call me crazy (or weird, even), but lately, I’ve started to feel myself drowning in nostalgia for the “original quarantine.” 

The two blissful weeks last March when we got sent home for “the time being.” When I stayed up until 2am watching movies with my mom and sister and woke up at 11am to the smell of my mom making our fourth “Sunday breakfast” that week.

The family walks became more frequent, my skin cleared up after I stopped my “dining hall diet,” FaceTime calls to my friends from college were longer, and the TikTok dances and trends were plentiful. For two weeks, I lounged around at home, barely did any school work, and enjoyed every second of my “Coronacation.”

But those “two weeks” in mid-March, turned into April, which turned into a masked-up May. June, July, August, September, October, November, December, January, February, and where we are today, March 8th. Almost one year later.

Today I am sitting in the Writing Center behind a plexiglass shield, wearing a surgical mask, and just scheduled what will be my sixth COVID test. I still haven’t met anyone from ARYSE in person, and much of the work I do for my classes, clubs, and internship is fully-online.

The amount of adapting everyone has had to do in the last year is astounding, and I couldn’t even begin to scratch the surface in a blog post of how amazed I am by the sacrifices people have made in an effort to keep others safe.

With that being said, however, the past year has also come with moments of fear, distress, anger, and doubt. I’ve stopped saying “When things go back to normal…” because how can life possibly go back to “normal” after this? After over half-a-million deaths in the United States. After a year of social-distancing, regulations, and Zoom fatigue.

I wish that after a year the end of the tunnel looked nearer and brighter, but I do think there has been progress. Both my parents are vaccinated, and my family is planning a vacation this summer. I also think people have adapted better to Zoom and online formats, as one year ago, the thought of sitting through a three-hour Zoom meeting seemed unbearable. Now it’s just Wednesday.

I’ve began to embrace the term “a new normal,” but I wish I had hope that life could somehow snap back to normal. In my moments of longing for the original quarantine, there is one thing I miss more than whipped coffee, pancake cereal, and the “Supalonely TikTok sound.” I miss the feeling of hope I had this was “just for two weeks.”

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