Ansley’s column: My relationship with 2020.

The following is part of a monthly column written by Senior Writer Ansley Morris.

Corona+changed+the+lifestyles+of+everyone%2C+whether+it+was+at+school%2C+the+store%2C+and+even+the+beach.+

Evanthia Stirou

Corona changed the lifestyles of everyone, whether it was at school, the store, and even the beach.

Ansley Morris, Senior Writer

In the big picture, yes, 2020 wasn’t a shining star considering the worldly events that happened this year, and I definitely had my fair share of personal hiccups as well, but if I had to bring my 2020 to a summation, it really wasn’t that bad.

I got a much-needed break from reality when quarantine hit and while there were times that I might’ve gone a little stir-crazy, I would’ve much rather had that feeling than the immense stress I was being hit with concerning school and work.

I was able to safely hang out with friends after a while, I reconnected with old family friends and neighbors, and overall, the unfortunate events of 2020 gave me a greater appreciation for the things and people I have in my life now.

For me, quarantine could not have come at a better time last March. It was about halfway through the third interim and I was absolutely drowning in schoolwork as I had gotten sick for a week in February. And on top of that, I was working a roughly 20-hour schedule for my after-school job. It’s pretty safe to say I was nearing a potentially disastrous burnout.

This isn’t an uncommon occurrence for other people either. Third interim is definitely the hardest for most (just read Jules Pung’s piece on the third interim slump here). Coming back from winter break and trying to get back in the school-grind mindset is tough, and I was struggling with this a lot at that time last year.

Then, on Friday, March 13, 2020, I received the news while at work that public schools were being shut down due to the impending coronavirus. And if public schools were closing, I knew it was only a matter of time before Saint Stephen’s was next.

When all of this came around, I was thinking just what everyone else was thinking: “Cool, an extended spring break!” But, I was ignorant to think that online school would be as easy as I had imagined it to be.

Much like many other students, I was more focused on the excitement of there being no school in person than the fact that school was still going to resume online. And I seriously underestimated the workload I was about to have.

Leave it to SSES to make sure that its students aren’t being cheated out of a world-class education just because they have to now do it from home. Online school was hard— maybe even just as rigorous as in-person school.

While it may have taken me a couple of weeks to get a grasp on it, the online work soon became bearable and I even found time to go on a walk or go out by the pool during the day, which was not a luxury I would’ve had given that school was still resuming in person.

Quarantine undoubtedly taught all of us who our real friends are and how appreciative we really are for those people. As a teen, spending time with friends is one of the most important factors of our daily lives, and there was a major culture shock to our entire generation with the arrival of COVID-19.

Hangouts turned to FaceTimes, parties turned to socially distanced meet-ups in parking lots, and school turned to zoom calls. It was like a grounding without having actually done anything wrong.

Yet, I survived. We survived. August rolled around and we were fortunate enough to be able to go back to school safely and see our friends and teachers, which is something that most everyone had a newfound appreciation for.

Long story short, I needed quarantine way more than I would’ve thought, and it wasn’t all that bad. As much as a teenager might hate to admit it, I did enjoy spending more time with and getting closer to my family. And after a bit of time, I was able to safely spend time with the same couple of friends, which I was extremely grateful for, much more than I would’ve been before.

2020 was most definitely a trying time and a beast of its own. Everyone had their own highs and lows throughout the year, and I was no exception. My mental health dipped lower than it had in a long time but because of the abundance of isolation time quarantine gave me, I was also able to take a step back, adjust my mindset, and bring myself to a much better place.

It’s very easy to focus on the negatives of this year as those seem to be the only things that have been talked about, but I choose to look at the positives. I learned more about and have felt more like myself than I have in a long time and I’ve learned to appreciate the people around me more. None of this would have been possible without the trials and tribulations of this year, and for that, I thank you, 2020.

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