On March 17, I stared at the TV with a mixture of shock and horror. Hot tears sprung onto my cheeks and I laughed, not believing what I was seeing: school was cancelled for the rest of the semester.
As someone in mostly music classes, I was exempt from online school. With nowhere to go and nothing to do, my mental health began to decline once again.
April was the hardest month of them all. With no end in sight, I found myself back in a place I thought I would never return. I spent days in bed, wallowing in my own misfortune. I went back on the medications I had stopped taking, hoping to ease some of the pain.
My time outside was brief and unsatisfying. I started to wonder if things would ever change.
The night of my 18th birthday, I blew out the candles and wished for everything to go back to normal.
As time went on, I began to rethink my choice to go to community college and stay home. I felt that I needed a fresh start with a new place and new people. When I got my acceptance letter from K-State, I instantly went into work mode, sorting out my housing and classes as quickly as I could. I could not wait to finally get out of my childhood home and start my adult life.
I had low expectations coming into college. I knew things would be different because of the pandemic, but online school took some time to get used to. Keeping track of deadlines and exams in a completely online class proved to be difficult without the in class reminders to get things done.
Fast forward to August and moving into Goodnow Hall, I walked into an environment where I was the “quiet” kid again. While everyone was out all night playing games and partying, I was studying for my next exam. I felt so different than everyone else and tried to keep to myself.
Making friends has been extremely difficult due to COVID-19. Having to wear a mask everywhere outside of our rooms makes it hard to look someone in the eyes and say hello. During the first month of school, I could not recognize anyone or understand facial cues due to the constant mask wearing.
But eventually, I met several people who, in the short few weeks we have been
here, make me laugh until I cry every day. They let me sit on their floor and rant after a long day or just sit in silence. They make all of the regulations and mask wearing worth it.
So many unknowns fill my day. As my classmates make bets on when we will be sent home, I hope and pray that I get to stay right here with the friends I have met and the classes I get to attend. Although I have not been here long, Manhattan feels like home.
The high school graduating class of 2020 will be known for the loss of our last semester. As the new class of 2024, we are not broken. We are becoming stronger and more resilient than ever before.