It was March 10th when I found that my official visit to the University of New Mexico was postponed and would be eventually cancelled. It was March 12th when I found out that my championship meet was cancelled. It was later that day when I found out that swim practice was cancelled until further notice. It was March 13th when school was called out for a three week spring break. Little did I know that that would be my last time in school. It was March 14th when I would clock into work for the last time.
In the weeks following, my stress was at an all time high. Everything in the news was depressing. Our cases kept rising, and we had no information about what was happening with this virus. I became so stressed that I grew a dependence on a sleep aid similar to melatonin. I spent my days laying around on my phone. As a person who was very busy before the pandemic, having nothing to do all day was pretty damaging after a while. However, things got better when my coach started sending us workouts. Finally, I had something to do. In addition to these workouts, I would run two miles almost every day. I honestly hated it, but it filled the void that was left by swimming. Then remote learning started in mid-April, and I started to feel somewhat normal.
In late April, my mother found a pool for me to swim in. The pool was in a neighbor’s backyard. The first time I jumped into the pool, I felt instant relief and happiness. Swimming is how I cope with life. It is my outlet for when times are stressful and to finally have that back again did wonders for my mental and physical health. To make things better, in early June the University of Denver opened its pool to my club, and I finally got to swim in my pool. Things were starting to go up.
In addition to swimming, I got a new job. I started working as a lifeguard for a private pool in Parker. I quickly became concerned with the little to no precautions. There was no limit on capacity, masks were not enforced, and there was no social distancing; I want to make clear that they didn’t have any laws. It was just really shocking to me because in Denver there were very strict rules around social distancing and mask use, and in Parker those restrictions were not the same. That definitely took some getting used to. However, my coworkers were absolutely amazing to work with and made the job a lot easier.
And the best news of all, I committed to swim at the University of New Mexico. I am very excited to swim for them. I am very honored that I even got the opportunity to swim at the collegiate level. It was a dream come true.
Sadly in July, my family had some health scares. My grandparents, who live in Florida, tested positive for the coronavirus. That was a very stressful time; I knew that they would be okay but that didn’t stop me from thinking of the worst case scenario, and then my mom spent the night at the hospital (not for COVID). I was pretty concerned for my mom and for my grandparents but fortunately they are all good.
That week in March when coronavirus first began to take its toll, I was a junior, but now, I am a senior. Senior year was always the year that I looked forward to. All the events, pride, and celebration that came along with being a senior was always so exciting for me. There was supposed to be a senior sleep out, prep rallies, homecoming, and so many other events that I will miss out on. I will miss out on being with my friends, my teammates, my classmates, and my teachers when I sign my National Letter of Intent. I will most likely miss out on the night to remember, prom. And the saddest of all, I will most likely not get to walk across the stage to accept my diploma. It honestly doesn’t feel like senior year—it is just junior year continued.
Throughout this whole thing, I have learned to live in the present. You can’t plan for anything nowadays. Denver could get shut down tomorrow for all I know. There really is no time like the present to make it your own. During these unprecedented times, take stock of your family, your friends, and the people around you, because in the end, they are what is most important.