Students reflect on the past pandemic-filled year

Jacob Mandel

365 days, 8,760 hours, or 525,600 minutes. In one year, lives can drastically change and the world can become an entirely different place. Arguably, no year in recent history altered the lives of nearly everyone on earth more than 2020. As we look back on the past year of political upheaval, worldwide cries for social equity and the deadliest pandemic since the Spanish Flu, it is hard to pinpoint the one way that we have changed the most. For some people, better connections with nature have been fostered. Others have become more in tune with their mental health. Most students have learned to appreciate the time they have to learn in-person with teachers and connect with friends and family.

Virtual schooling created countless learning difficulties, and harsh restrictions on athletics and extracurriculars forced students to find new and safer ways to have fun and socialize. For the first time in most of our lives, we endured a nearly identical hardship to everyone else in the world.

To illustrate the ways that they’ve changed in the past year, eight students answered the following question, “If you could leave a voicemail for yourself from one year ago, what would you say?” While giving advice to their past selves, the students also reflected on how they grew individually for the best. Their responses give insight into how teenagers coped with the pandemic and other stresses, and exemplify that although most people had similar experiences in the last year, we have all learned from them in different ways.