One year of COVID: What did students take away from it all?

As we’ve all come to understand, however, it wasn’t all bad. In fact, there were quite a few unforeseen positives that came out of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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On Mar. 31, 2020, Grayslake Central’s student parking lot sat empty, however by February 2021, the lot would be full again as students returned for hybrid learning. The 2019-2020 school year finished remote, and the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year was fully remote, wit hybrid learning starting the week of Jan. 19.

Daniel Laubhan, A&E Editor

As we approach one year of living in the midst of a global pandemic, our lives have all changed drastically. Say you were to tell someone from late 2019 that by March 2021, things like wearing masks in public places, social distancing, and doing school from the comfort of your home would become commonplace. They’d probably first think this is some sort of prank, and that within seconds cameras would be flanking them, and then they would be on some random comedy TV show. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and this is the reality of the world around us. As we’ve all come to understand, however, it wasn’t all bad. In fact, there were quite a few unforeseen positives that came out of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“[The way] Grayslake has situated our school situation is just really great,” said senior Gion Malcolm Sanoria. “I get more time to do more work in other classes, especially because I have Tech Campus… [the new schedule] also gives me more time in the afternoon to really dig into what I love, and that’s what I like about the new school situation,” Sanoria continued. “For our generation, I feel like we really take things for granted, [especially] the small things like meeting our friends, or… people in general.” The loss of social interaction that many people experienced proved to be challenging, especially at the start of the pandemic. Personally, not seeing friends and being somewhat isolated proved to be challenging; however, it felt oddly peaceful. The fact that something so commonplace in youth culture was taken away just like that was something that many of us will surely carry with us going forward.

For our generation, I feel like we really take things for granted, [especially] the small things like meeting our friends, or… people in general.”

— Gion Malcolm Sanoria

 Another major change that many people faced, especially at the beginning of quarantine, was that because a lot of extracurricular activities and sports were canceled, people had to adapt and find new ways to fill those large gaps of time. “I started running [more]… I’ve been running for a while, but I continued to run, and I started reading again, so I started doing the things I liked to do more than usual,” explains freshman John Vagnoni. “I started teaching myself sign language, and I think it’s always cool to learn how to communicate with someone in a different language than you know,” Vagnoni explained. “Before COVID, I had [a] routine that I was used [to], even if it wasn’t completely sketched out. However, after we went into lockdown, I was just so overwhelmed with all the time I had on my hands, and most of the time didn’t use it like I would have preferred now.” To Vagnoni’s point, many people have taken up new hobbies or tried something new to see what floats their boat. Not to mention that people got a chance to better examine their goals going forward, and pick up hobbies that would better focus on those goals.

An additional huge takeaway from the COVID situation was it gave a lot of people a different perspective on the world around them. Not only did we realize that the world around us isn’t to be taken for granted, but it also gave us a chance to take a moment, look back, and realize that the world around us is a place where things can change at a moment’s notice. “I guess I just realized that life isn’t always set in stone, and [is] not going to always go the way you want it to, and I think that this pandemic was a really good way to show that, and it’s a really good life lesson,” says sophomore Ava Bruce.

Overall, if the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything aside from loads of safety protocols that we practically know by rote now, it taught us how to be resilient and how to overcome so many challenges and come out stronger than we were before. It taught us not to take things for granted that we never would have imagined having to think twice about before, things like going to concerts, eating indoors, and seeing our friends in school. We can all agree that the world around us is challenging, but if you search in the right places, the goodness of the world can and will shine through. Whether this goodness means picking up a new hobby, focusing more on your passions, or maybe safely spending time with friends, this can all make life seem a bit more tolerable and can give us hope for a return to normalcy soon.