Who knew so many hopes could be crushed in a matter of hours? I was building my way up in life, striving for success. I’d gained a powerful desire to achieve more and exceed expectations over the past few months of heartache and failure. One wrecking ball after another, the pandemic quickly turned my life upside down.
On March 12th, it was a challenging day for me with academics; I had this constant feeling that I was drowning in stress. The one desire I had in my heart was to step onto the soccer field, letting my problems drift away with a swift kick of the ball. Usually my art is stress relieving, but during ceramics my hands were too tense to form any masterpieces for the day. I broke down in tears, wanting to escape the stressful reality. The world was twisting through my blurred vision; complete darkness was near. Then, I received the message.
No game today. Season postponed. Heartbreaking words that strengthened my feeling of sorrow. Soccer was my one hope for an escape, the only part of the day that kept me moving forward. I know everyone saw me crying as I rushed down the side of the hallway to my next class. I know they too had been or would soon be affected somehow. The chain of events had begun, and soon everything would fall apart.
Our team was full of lost hope and tragic tears. We sat quietly in the room as the coach told us to keep our heads held high. How could we? If it was true that the virus was spreading rapidly, how could we get back on the field in merely three weeks? It was clear that our season would be officially canceled soon.
Unsurprisingly, we were let out from school the next day for an extended spring break. Most students were jumping for joy, some disregarding the fact that this break was due to a world crisis. I also had a bunch of academic related activities planned for the next few months, which were now hanging by a thread. My life collapsed even further with the repetitions of cancelations. SkillsUSA State Competition, canceled. CU Summer Academy, canceled. Summer 2020 Internship, canceled. Though the pain I felt for these cancellations was severe, nothing compared to my loss of the beautiful game. With months of the pandemic still ahead, I knew my river of tears was far from over.
Online learning was introduced in April. This became more chaotic than I expected. Some teachers seemed to be constantly ramming work down our throats, assuming that we had time to sit at a computer 15 hours a day. They tried to be considerate with grading. They tried to understand the student perspective. Even though they tried, I do not believe they succeeded. That spring semester caused my anxiety to reach an all-time high. As an overachiever, I often bite off more than I can chew. From a teacher’s perspective, my work appears to be impressive and worthy of a high grade. From my student perspective, that work took hours of time, extreme effort, stressful breakdowns full of tears, and an unusually high heart rate. I would forget to eat, sleep, and drink. My body was slowly falling apart due to such stress. When the semester ended, I finally kept a peaceful state of mind.
Summer arrived, and I got to training right away. Every single day I went out to a park and worked hard to improve myself as a soccer player. My summer consisted of individual training sessions with shooting drills, ladder workouts, footwork drills, sprints, distance running, passing drills, and power kicks. I was constantly pushing myself to become better and I loved it. I can honestly say it was one of the most productive off seasons I’ve ever had. Luckily, the fall season began in August. I was finally back on a team, ready to flow with the game and embrace my skills. Playing soccer with the people I love is one of the best feelings.
When summer ended, the fall semester started online. Even though I dreaded going back to school, I committed to my schoolwork right away. This semester has not been as stressful as the last, yet I feel like I am being worn out or simply drained. The routine of online learning is becoming exhausting and excessive. Too much screen time is starting to make me feel ill for the entirety of my day. However, I have been able to participate in more activities than I did during spring. I am currently a student intern at DPS CareerConnect and a Volunteer at the Denver Dumb Friends League. I thought this pandemic would take away everything I love, but I’ve fortunately been able to do more than I expected. Since I’m pretty glad about how the end of my year has turned out, despite COVID-19, I am not that desperate for the pandemic to end. I will be able to live my life like this for a while, so my wish is for the world to stay safe and patient for as long as possible. This pandemic should not be rushed for those who want to walk into a store without a mask on. If we all continue to take precautions, everyone will benefit from it in the end. Due to my experiences in 2020, I will never take shaking someone’s hand for granted.