With spring break around the corner, it’s hard not to feel a little post-traumatic stress from our last. So much changed the week of March 8, 2020 and, although we didn’t know it at the time, our lives would never be the same. We’ve undergone countless ups and downs since then, and we, for one, can’t believe it’s been more than a year since that day. The Foghorn staff reflected on all that we’ve learned during the year since our infamous spring break from which we never returned.
One positive takeaway from this year has been the perseverance we have learned. When we’re isolated from one another, it’s easier to get bogged down by our feelings because we don’t have as many emotional outlets to uplift or distract us. Some staff members have taken up journaling as a great first step to work out all that we’ve been feeling. Additionally, for some of us, meditation has been key to centering ourselves so we can be alone with no worries for a few minutes every day. This year, we’ve learned that it’s vital to address our mental health. Though there are a variety of ways to do it, we all know that we must take care of ourselves first before anything else.
Another gift of quarantine has been reconnecting with family and friends in our hometowns. Many of us have turned to these family members and friends in times of difficulty over the last 12 months.
And, as frustrating and exhausting as Zoom can be, we understand that it’s a privilege to be able to continue pursuing our college educations despite the pandemic. We also count ourselves lucky to have dedicated professors who are committed to trying to make online classes interesting.
We also recognize that, in the past year, there have been many significant learning moments both for ourselves and for society as a whole. The Black Lives Matter movement weighed so heavily on many because the world was stuck at home as injustice continued to flourish all around us. And yet, we’ve also learned that any social movement must be more than a summer of reckoning or an infographic on Instagram.
Further, we witnessed and participated in a historic presidential election. It was the first time many people on staff voted for our next president, and it was imperative that we did. We looked into the belly of the political beast (voter suppression, Capitol riot, and a refusal to concede and all) and came out better for it on the other side. We learned an important lesson that in order for things to truly get better, we cannot settle for only giving attention to issues like racism or voting when they’re at the forefront of our collective consciousnesses.
We have all experienced this pandemic together and it will take a group effort to get life back to what we once knew. Simple things like wearing a mask, washing our hands, or staying home when we’re feeling a bit under the weather can keep us, and others, safe. COVID-19 has highlighted how essential it is that we evaluate our privileges when it comes to how our own behavior impacts others. We must use those privileges to help alleviate the burdens that others have been forced to endure for the past year. Doing our part in the grand scheme of things can and will make a difference in the quality of life of others.
As we enter (what is hopefully) the home stretch of this pandemic, keep moving forward the best you can. Stay in touch with friends and family and plan the things you’ll do once we can safely be wherever we’ve wanted to be this past year. The way we view the world has changed and the way we measure progress and success has to shift with that. Our old idea of normal will likely never return to what it was, but humanity has been growing and adapting for millenia.
We look back now and laugh at our naivety to keep from crying. We wish (especially those of us on staff who are graduating) we had more time in San Francisco; that we could go back and have truly lived in the moment in SF by going on those last-minute outings or exploring the city. However, if people weren’t stuck at home, maybe the summer’s BLM protests would not have been as big of a movement as they became; maybe President Biden and Vice President Harris would not have won. We might not have grown as much personally or became as politically educated had we not been sheltering indoors.
We have all felt the emotional and mental impact of quarantine. Many of us have missed out on nearly half of our in-person college experiences, but one thing is for certain, we will talk about this past year for the rest of our lives. This pandemic experience has not only been an individual battle, but a global one. While we have all experienced it differently, we have a universal understanding of struggle and grief as a result. We understand now that the normal we longed for at the beginning of quarantine wasn’t as good as we thought, so we will keep looking forward and try to make the next “normal” a better one.