Reflection on COVID-19: Ashlynn O’Keefe

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Courtesy of Creative Commons

Ashlynn O’Keefe, Student Feature

The current pandemic came as a shock to everyone. I never thought I would go through something so terrifying and horrible in my lifetime. To my knowledge, I have not contracted the coronavirus, but I know many people close to me that have.

The virus makes it impossible to perform what was referred to as “normal activity,” and has also introduced an entirely new style of living that the citizens of the United States now must follow. This crisis has affected many in its own awful way. It forced me to make lifestyle changes I was not prepared to make mentally or physically, burdened my near future plans, and changed my perspective on life.

I now complete my schoolwork from the comfort of my bed, which has taken a toll on my success. I find myself procrastinating and not giving my best efforts. It is difficult for me to
remain motivated and concentrated when the world is in such distress.

The crisis has also forced me not to see my loved ones. This is extremely hard for me, as my friends and family are a large portion of my day-to-day happiness. Being condemned to stay as far away from others as possible is detrimental to my mental health. I find myself feeling lonely and angry much more often than usual, and lashing out at people in my home that do not deserve it. The feeling of being isolated from those who mean the most to me is a constant struggle.

The “stay at home” order is also affecting my body. With the fear of the grocery store, closing of gyms, and increased financial hardships, it is difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The pandemic has put a hold on my future plans. Without the virus, the spring and summer semesters of my freshman year were going to be focused on working and accumulating enough funds to be able to study abroad in the 2021 spring semester. I am now holding back from attending an amazing experience because I cannot find a job willing to hire when most businesses are to remain closed until further notice. My family also has a move coming up in October. Our house is getting torn down due to flooding complications in the basement, so my single mother has to attempt to finance a new home with no help and little income. We cannot get help from family or friends while moving either due to social distancing.

The virus is also affecting my GPA, which could in turn affect my future. With the underlying
stress of online school, I have to live at home. I have to complete chores while also acting as a teacher to my younger brother, while he has packets to complete filled with questions of material he is unfamiliar with. The virus has created a lot of stress in my home. It is extremely frustrating to plan for the future when I am unsure when I will be able to return to everyday life before the coronavirus pandemic, or if the world will never be the same again.

The virus has changed the way I view life significantly. Living in fear is a
terrifying feeling. Living with the thought of going outside and potentially risking the lives of myself and the people I live with is not easy. I find myself wanting to go to the store for my mom or help out around the house, but the thought of contracting the virus at the grocery store or a home improvement store stops me every time. I struggle with finding peace over the fact that I cannot provide comfort to the people I care about in their distress.

Because of this crisis, I have an appreciation for the life I was given more than I had before. This pandemic has taught me that my life can be taken from me at any given moment and that staying in touch with the ones I love is very important. Of course, the risk of my own life is at stake, but I also fear the ones I love can be taken from me at any moment. Throughout my life, I always felt I was strong and independent. I believed there was nothing I could not overcome because I was raised to have confidence and not to fear. However, fear is all I dwell on nowadays.

I am currently seeking distractions and activities that steer my mind away from the virus, but every time I turn on the news, go online, listen to the radio, or even catch up with someone, the virus is always the topic of discussion. It is challenging to stay focused on important aspects of my life when I am not even sure if the world will ever recover from this. I am attempting to think positively about this situation. However, although the coronavirus has affected my life in many negative ways, I feel when this pandemic finally passes, the world will be a little
more selfless; I know I will be.