Let’s start at the beginning. In January 2020 I was in fifth grade and still going to in person school. I enjoyed hanging out and playing with my friends. We had just started changing classrooms for different subjects to prepare us for middle school.
In February, I celebrated my eleventh birthday with friends at an escape room party. I kept hearing things about the coronavirus, but I wasn’t too worried about it. One of my good friends started bringing handwritten charts to school showing all the new coronavirus cases for a bunch of different countries. My family’s trip to Taiwan was cancelled. New York seemed like a safer place to be.
In March, the world turned upside down and inside out. Schools turned remote. I didn’t know when I would see my friends again. We started wearing masks everywhere. I wasn’t allowed to visit my grandparents anymore. I wasn’t too upset about it though. I was adjusting to my new life.
During April, I was getting the hang of learning virtually. I didn’t see any of my friends. We barely went outside. Everything was closing. The pandemic had made its way to New York and was coming down hard. I spent a lot of time reading and playing video games. One of my friends and I started calling each other every evening so we could play games together.
In May, I was getting bored of online school. We started to go out a little more often. Occasionally I would walk to my grandparents’ house to say hello, though these get-togethers lasted only two minutes. The coronavirus was now called COVID-19. My school kept reassuring us fifth graders that we would have a graduation and a dance in the fall. I believed them. Things weren’t that bad, after all.
June was the last month of school. The gravity of the situation had sunk in. I had scrolled through the New York Times and had seen a COVID-19 chart. I was shocked at the number of cases and deaths in March and April. We were plateauing now, but I was still scared. I knew now that I wasn’t going back to my elementary school for a while.
In July, summer camp was cancelled. It felt like part of the summer was missing. I started FaceTiming and Skyping my friends more often, so I wasn’t lonely. I went to the park with my family daily. I attended a virtual prep course for the first time. I didn’t know what to think about anything.
In August my summer camp said that they would open their pool every Tuesday evening for an hour so a few kids could go swim. I saw my best friend there, since we both attend the same summer camp. These swimming nights turned into one of my favorite nights of the week.
In September I started sixth grade. Even though blending learning had been delayed, I was still excited to go to school. I had missed going to school a lot. I met my teachers virtually and adapted to middle school.
When October came, we finally started blended learning. I made friends with the other seven in-person classmates. We chatted during lunch in the classroom. Since our lunch lady was nice, we were allowed to play video games together. We were all having fun. I continued with prep school on the weekends.
In late November, schools went remote again. I was devastated. I felt like I was losing control. Still, I managed to have some fun. I celebrated Thanksgiving with my extended family on a Zoom call. The meal was homemade except for the turkey cold cuts.
In December I felt like I had regained some control over life. I was playing around more. I heard that a vaccine was on the way. That gave me hope. In these uncertain times, hope was all that I needed to keep going.