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My COVID-19 Experience...

Disclaimer: During the duration of our closure, the staff at The Forge has decided to forego our usual weekly format. Instead, each day we will publish an article written by one of our staff members addressing their personal responses during this time. Therefore, the opinions expressed in these articles solely represent those of the author. We hope to return to our traditional publishing schedule soon.

COVID-19 has uprooted the majority of our society. Not only has this virus affected me, but it has also affected everyone’s way of life. However, my focus is to give an insight as to how my life has been changed drastically, all in the course of three weeks.

Online School: Honestly, I’m struggling. I have no motivation to do school because I’m at home. In order for me to focus on school, it’s best if I’m not at home. Seeing as that’s not an option, I’m struggling. I also don’t do well with online schooling in general because I need the visual of a teacher standing and teaching me. I no longer have that. It’s like watching a YouTube video for learning, except I can ask questions during the video. That doesn’t teach me. That just… talks to me to see if I can teach myself. I go to school because I can’t do homeschool. Well, now I don’t have an option…

Work: I thankfully still have a job. I work at a restaurant, and we are offering call-in orders, drive thru orders, and whatnot. Yet, the inside of the restaurant is closed for dine-in. Mondays I would wait tables, so that is no longer an option. From numbers I have heard from my boss, our business is down by 50%. We are currently painting the inside to give it a fresh look (it’s been the same for many, MANY years). My hours are now fluctuating between having more hours surprisingly, less hours, and the same hours as prior to shutdown. We are now splitting tips left versus having tips on our numbers/names. This is actually helpful for some of us earning more tips than usual, but harmful for those who mainly wait tables and make so much more.

What I Do: I’ve begun binge-watching a new series (Parks and Recreation) and am already halfway through season three. I’ve found a way to watch movies through Zoom with friends (fortunately they can hear the audio well, unfortunately the video quality for them is poor). I’ve been coloring A LOT. I learned a new drawing thing too to give your drawings a glitch effect (thank you art side of TikTok).

Places: Places I go to regularly are work, boyfriend’s house, and my siblings daycare. Other places I periodically go are food drive-thrus and the gas station. When I do go to those places, trust me I have my Lysol and gloves.

Coping: I’m not even going to lie or sugar coat it; I am slowly losing my sanity. I hate being alone all day, and nights are crazy being at home with two kids both under the age of seven. I'm a very social person, so being so isolated is killing me.

Family: I’ve been scared to go to my grandparents house. They live right down the road from me, but I don’t want to spread anything in case I’ve got it. My papa has health conditions and he means so much to me. I don’t know anyone personally who has the virus, but I definitely don’t want that to change.

I Miss: I miss my friends. I’m not able to see the majority of my close friends because of this quarantine. My best friends Hannah and Cheyenne are on lockdown because of health conditions that cause them or a family member to be at-risk. I miss school. When I said I wanted a break from school, this wasn’t what I meant. I miss being able to go to parks, festivals, vacation destinations, and/or being a teenager. I miss having the high school senior experience. I miss being careless (although I’m not entirely careless as many might assume). I miss being able to go places and not be terrified that I’m going to contract a disease and spread it to someone who would die from it or even die myself. I miss life.

Grocery Shopping: The other day, my mom went grocery shopping. She came home with basically everything we needed, but had a full cart because there are four of us she needs to feed. We are not overstocking, but we are not going understocked either. When she came home, I immediately sprayed everything that could be sprayed with Lysol and had her take a shower, putting her clothes she wore out in the washer. I don’t think I will be doing any shopping for her unless it is absolutely desired.

Allergy Season: Whoever's idea this was to put COVID-19 during allergy season is an actual jerk. I don’t know if I need to turn myself in to the CDC or just take some Allegra and be okay. If I have a tickle in my throat and need to cough because of my allergies, I’m genuinely scared for my health.

The Future: What I will remember most from this is how my senior year was completely destroyed in the most important months. If this had happened in the fall of 2019, I wouldn’t have been AS mad, but this had to happen during those important months.

The entirety of my high school experience has been a complete mess. Every corner I seem to turn, there’s a road block. From having to worry about a man who hurt me many years ago, the court system taking three years to finally go to trial, having to be on that stand testifying against him, he be found guilty on all four counts and sentenced to 15 years in prison, to dealing with the loss of very close family members (one being my lifetime best friend), having PTSD just from my life, I was finally in freedom in December of 2019. Three months later, there’s another blockade: COVID-19 threatening to take away my final days, my walk across the stage to not just a new level of education, but a new door to open to a fresh life. Now, what I was once promised, is fighting to stay on the table.

Finale: I’m scared.