Wachsman embracing her new “normal”

Olivia Wachsman, Executive Editor

   In March of 2020, when I first heard of COVID-19, I thought this wave of virus would be like the Ebola outbreak of my fourth grade year — it would never truly affect the United States.

   I was sadly mistaken, however, as I soon realized the gravity of the outbreak. As a two week quarantine became a five month hiatus, I watched the world around me change.

   Even as quarantine ended and my senior year began, I saw the effects of the virus everywhere. Neighbors died, family members suffered long hospital stays and friends took periods of quarantine to recover from illness. I even struggled with three exposure scares myself.

   Hybrid school seemed like a smart solution. I soon realized that being at home in my comfy pajamas to study was a sad consolation prize for having my friends dictated by position in the alphabet. Even on the days when I was at school, I missed the interaction of my classmates.

   Each day I listened to discussions between students about the inconveniences of wearing masks and the rights of students to their personal freedoms. As a senior at G.C.H.S., these arguments sounded hollow to my ears. Wearing a mask seemed like such a minor inconvenience when I weighed it against making my grandparents, my friends or even my teachers sick with COVID-19.

   My teachers and administrators struggled to find creative ways to give us a sense of normalcy. They planned a Homecoming Parade of Maids, set up pep rallies on the field according to grade level and talked of rescheduling a dance for spring semester. Many of my classmates complained about these changes. I was just excited to hear that our school was trying to make us feel normal.

   The reality of our situation is that this year represents the “new normal.” The “normal” where we value human life and learn to appreciate each little moment.

   I still do not know if we will stay in school for next semester. I do not know if I will ever wear my prom dress or walk across a stage at graduation. I am, however, thankful for my new perspective on life. As high school seniors, we should appreciate the opportunities we are offered, take nothing for granted and forge forward into a future where we value the lives of human beings more than we value our own comfort and desires.