Spring Forward During the Pandemic Series: Reflection

By Maisha Ahmed

woman by koi pond illustration

We are going to end the spring forward during the pandemic series with a bit of reflection starting with spring 2020, a tumultuous period of time marked by fear, anxiety and chaos invoked by the pandemic, to spring 2021 when things started to calm down a little bit, and finally ending with where we currently are: spring 2022, a time of hope and stabilization. Through this blog, I hope to portray the tremendous amount of resiliency we as a community have shown and end it with a more optimistic outlook of the future.

Spring 2020

Spring 2020 was a time of chaos as covid-19 started to rear its ugly head around January. I remember I was still living in my college dormitory when the media started to report that there was a major virus spreading in China. At that time, I remember I felt relieved because China was so far away and the media made it seem like the virus will disappear within a week or two.  But by March, the virus we all thought would disappear as quickly as it appeared, started to hit hard and spread all over the world. Every day on the news we started to hear how so many people were being infected and dying quickly. My anxiety started to rise as I realized how quickly the virus seemed to be spreading with no solution in sight; reality started to sink in even harder when the university decided it was too unsafe to keep everyone on campus. It was also around this time that I found out my father had stage four lung cancer and was in a hospital with covid-infected patients dying every day.

My father passed away on April 28th 2020 alone in the hospital. We were not able to visit him during his duration of stay at the hospital as covid took a dangerous path. We were not able to stay by his side, hold his hands, nor comfort him as he took his last breath. This was the reality of everyone who had lost a loved one due to covid or other illnesses during this period. Our healthcare system was collapsing, hospitals were overflowing with covid infected patients and many life-saving surgeries and other treatments were being delayed, and loved ones could not grieve properly. Many covid-19 patients ended up being cremated or funerals were extremely limited and there was hardly any type of support available. We were on a strict lock-down, had to follow strict guidelines on social distancing, struggled to get used to wearing masks all the time, and lived with the fear of our loved ones being infected. Many of us lost our jobs, struggled from transitioning from in-person learning to online classes spiraled into a road of anxiety and depression, and we have also seen a rise in domestic violence when more people started being stuck at home. It was chaos after chaos and I, along with many other people, wondered if it would ever be possible to go back to life before covid.

Spring 2021

covid vaccine illustration

Spring 2021 proved that, though life might have not completely gone back to what it was like before the pandemic hit, the global community worked together to be resilient and slowly stood back up on our feet again. It was very difficult for us to adjust to a life that made us more isolated from our loved ones. We were sick of being cooped up at home all the time. Gone were the days when we were able to freely go out to concerts or somewhere outside with our friends with no worries about putting our loved ones in danger. Traditional celebrations such as the Thanksgiving Day parades were cancelled and it was hard adjusting to wearing a mask all the time. But it is thanks to everyone working together and baring through the most difficult part of the pandemic that a little ray of hope began to shine through as we began to gain back a little more control.

Then one of the biggest gains occurred in this very year: the introduction and approval of the vaccines started to become a game-changer. Though there were many variants, the vaccines helped protect many of us from serious effects, hospitalizations, and death. We still hard to wear a mask and were encouraged to keep a distance but I finally found myself feeling okay to go outside without the tremendous fear of losing my mother or brother. The lockdowns started to ease up; businesses started opening up again, schools were letting students stay on campus, and some of us were even making spring vacation plans.

Spring 2022

The drastic change that we see in spring 2022 is impeccable. It’s the first time in a long time that spring actually feels like spring. The weather has been beautiful for the last couple of days, people seem to be happier and out more often, and some of our traditional celebrations are coming back in full force. Just last weekend, I went to a wedding without feeling severe anxiety of contracting covid-19 whereas even last spring, I would have avoided it at all costs. People have been getting their booster shots and mask mandates have been finally dropped. Compared to two years ago and even last year, the aura just seems more optimistic. Baseball games are starting to pick up and stadiums are being filled, many of us are waiting eagerly to see our loved ones during the upcoming holidays, and we are adjusting to a new yet also a familiar life once again.

With that being said, I’d still like everyone to be cautious. If you are feeling symptoms of covid-19, please make sure to quarantine for the recommend number of days. We worked so hard together to reach this stage; I’d like all of us to continue staying resilient and working together for a brighter future.