My pandemic experience from middle school still affects me today (Commentary)

It’s bizarre to think how commonplace the word “quarantine” has become


Raul Mares

For a whole three years we suffered from a virus that shut everything down

We have all been affected by the recent pandemic, one way or another. For some in positive ways, but for others in very negative ways.

I remember it was the beginning of spring and I was in 6th grade. My friends and I would high five, push each other, etc — we played like normal kids. Like any other kids, we played basketball, football, tether ball, soccer, etc.. Oftentimes, we would squeeze ten kids on one side of the lunch table and ten on the other side, sitting elbow-to-elbow.

All of a sudden, everything was shutdown.

Just like that, I didn’t get to see my friends. The only time I’d see them was when they would turn on their camera to take attendance and after saying “here”, their screens would all go black again.

I struggled a lot to keep up with assignments. It seemed like piles on piles of work; I simply gave up. I stopped doing my work, began to sleep through my classes, and started to ignore what the teacher was trying to teach me. Just like that, my grades began to slip. Grades that were once A’s B’s slowly turned into C’s, D’s, and F’s. Before I knew it, there were two more weeks left before 7th grade was over.

After my dad was told I may not be able to move on to 8th grade, I finally had to work on what I’d procrastinated all year. The homework was endless.

My dad sat me down at the kitchen table on a Thursday night and made sure I was doing my work. It seemed like the time was ticking slower than it did when I was staring at my iPad screen, listening to my teacher ramble on about how a number squared is not being multiplied by two but being multiplied by itself. So many hours were spent at that table, working endlessly just so I wouldn’t have to go to summer school or redo a whole year of classes.

Looking back at it, I feel bad for my dad. He would stay up until 1 a.m. helping me with my work, making me a cup of coffee, and just being supportive. During those two weeks, he only slept about six to five hours a day because he would wake up at 6 a.m. to head to work. I feel bad that I made my dad worry so much for me, he didn’t deserve all the stress.

That’s why I always try my best now, so he won’t need to worry about me.

Even now, that experience has greatly affected me, and I know I’ve been impacted longterm.