by Austin Stehouwer, 05/03/2020, Traverse City, Mi

Middle School 6-8 Category

This pandemic has shocked the world and showed no mercy in its path of destruction. Many kids all around the world have never experienced a virus as serious as COVID-19. It has caused people to live in fear, away from the outside world. Everyone I know has different opinions on when these scary times are going to end.

The days feel gloomy, cold, and sad. There is nothing much going on outside except a few animals and walkers passing by every so often. It feels like a zombie apocalypse. The air is fresh and clean, but nobody can go to the beaches or parks or meet up with their friends. People are panicked and feel the need to buy out stores of everyday necessities (toilet paper, disinfectants/sanitizers, pantry staples) causing widespread demand. My friends and I are all wondering how this will affect the next chapter of our lives – moving into highschool as 9th graders. We are trying to adapt to online learning, with rule and curriculum changes weekly. Will our work matter, will we fail, will we be prepared? The thoughts overwhelm us.

Many people are not taking the Corona Virus seriously. They are still meeting up and having fun in big groups when that is strictly prohibited. These are the people who are making my grandparents and I talk over the phone instead of face to face. These are the people who are unknowingly, possibly spreading the virus. These are the people who are causing the extended lockdown as the number of infected continues to rise. I see and hear information about the virus on television, social media and overheard conversations of my family members. The facts are constantly changing and confusing. The hardest part is not knowing. Not knowing when will there be a vaccine? When will there be a cure? When will I (or someone I love) come down with it? When will it end?

These stories are real and we are living them. We will tell our children how we coped with all the craziness by working on puzzles, playing board/video games, facetiming with family and friends and going for walks to reduce the boredom. We will try to explain the feeling of anxiety that we lived with daily. We will try to convey what it felt like to be forced to stay home to stay safe. No normal schooling, no organized sports to play or watch, no travel, no birthday/holiday family gatherings, no dining out in restaurants, no socializing outside of your own home. We will tell them we never lost hope.