NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

The ups and downs of COVID-19

Around three months ago, the first COVID-19 case was announced in the United States. Since then, it has affected all of us. I remember looking through various articles on the virus as early as mid-January, reading from sources such as NHK Japan, a news outlet closer to the epicenter of the outbreak. I brought them up in conversation as passing remarks over dinner, where I’d get responses such as “It’s probably not that dangerous,” or “There’s no way it could come here.”
Now, looking back at the different ways that everyone has been affected by this virus, and looking forward to the end of the semester, I look back at the different ways that I have coped with the virus, and the multiple lessons it has taught me.  
My family, before the virus, was very distant, with me and my sister having a passive animosity to our stepsiblings and their mother. We, too, had been growing further apart, from each other, and our own parents. Both of our birth parents wound up as essential workers, and our stepparent, working from home, so our chances to connect with our own parents decreased, as our chances to connect with our stepparent increased. 
One would assume this amount of forced compatibility would result in days of fighting and hostility, but instead, we quickly accepted our fate, and wound up conversing and interacting with our family more. 
I, personally, wound up connecting with my youngest stepbrother and playing many video games with him that I would otherwise find menial. It turned out to be quite fun and time-consuming where there was nothing else to do. I also connected more with my sister in a similar way, she wound up showing me a few recipes as we did some cooking and baking together.
With the rest of my family, I still wound up connecting in these small, unique ways, and ultimately learning a plethora of new skills.  
This quarantine has been a perfect time for self-reflection and learning. I found the chance to look inward at my personal goals, flaws, and potential improvements. Many of these were found in everyday tasks, sometimes as simple as remembering to do my laundry as to keep my room from growing messy. 
This self-reflection also let me see just how much I missed the outdoors. While I have always had a draw to the outdoors and exercise, I typically stay inside, keeping safe and playing video games, even when not in quarantine.
Now that human interaction has been reduced both for myself and the people around me, I have found myself missing this interaction now more than ever, and longing to go outside with friends, even if it’s just a quick bike ride or jog.
It also brought me the realization that I am an extreme procrastinator, especially if I constantly am working from home. With this being a huge part of community college for the time being, I seriously need to re-evaluate how I do my work and my ethics behind it. 
No matter how long this virus continues to rage on, and whatever it takes to stop it, we have learned valuable lessons; from being brought closer together to family, being torn from them, or our workplaces, and stripped of our everyday lives. Whether it be someone you know, or someone that you have merely interacted with once, we all know somebody that has been lost to this virus.
I hope that this virus does not continue on at its current state, where we are forced inside to repel the chance of infection. I am hopeful for our future, for the state of all people, and a positive result from this virus.