Courtesy of Jillian Koenig

Jillian Koenig never expected to start off her high school experience via online school.

Jillian Koenig

January 8, 2021

If there is one thing that there has been a lot of in 2020, it’s tears. Tears, along with lots of crying, disappointment, and frustration. 2020 was a really annoying year, honestly.

January and February were the only “normal” months of 2020 and I barely remember them. For me, the start of 2020 was March 13 because that’s when everything really started going downhill.

I remember March 13 so clearly and I know it’s a day that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. It was a normal Friday and everyone at school was hoping for it to get shut down after hearing that other schools all over the country were closing because of COVID-19.

I had math last and we had just heard that Cherry Hill schools were not going to be closing. Everyone was really mad because all they wanted was to do school from home. It’s funny how now all we’d rather do is get out of the house and go to school.

After school ended, I went home and made plans to hang out with my friends just like any other Friday. March 13 was also abnormally warm. I remember it was the first day in a long time that I could wear a T-shirt outside.

Later that night, I got a text from my mom with a screenshot of the Cherry Hill website saying that school would be closed for two weeks and we would return on March 30. Little did I know, that was just the start.

Long story short, two weeks turned into the rest of the year. If you told me this in March, I would have said that you were crazy.

During quarantine, I was ok with not returning to school because soon it would be summer and summer meant camp! 49 days in my absolute favorite place was almost here. Again, this was another lie.

April 30 is another day that I’m always going to remember because it was one of the saddest days of my life. I remember sitting in my bed watching Netflix and getting a call from my camp friends.

I answered the phone and as soon as I saw everyone crying, I knew exactly what had just happened. I pulled up the camp website and the giant words on the home page read, “It is with broken hearts that we share our plans to cancel all in-person activities held on our site for summer 2020.”

Although I didn’t want to believe it, I had known in the back of my mind all along that there was no way camp would be happening this year. The announcement was not much of a surprise.

I was so upset the rest of that day, but after a few days of being sad, I started getting over it. Every other camp started cancelling too and that made me feel better because I knew I wouldn’t be the only one going through this.

What I had expected to be the worst summer of my life wasn’t too bad at all. I was able to hang out with my friends (because none of them were at camp), go to the beach, go on vacation with my family, and make the most out of these weird times. The summer went by so quickly and before I knew it, school was starting again.

Starting high school all online was not an easy adjustment. While I would much rather be in person for school, I try to make the most of this situation. I can’t complain that I get to sleep two hours later!

After living through the brutal year of 2020, I’ve realized that if one thing is for sure, it’s that everyone is going through the same thing right now. After the multiple events of disappointment I experienced during the past few months, my parents always reminded me of one thing: “Everyone is going through the same thing. You’re not the only one”.

This made me feel a lot better because it’s much easier to get through something challenging if you have other people going through it with you.

While 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone and taken away so much, it has also given me beneficial things. With so much time at home, I got to spend a lot of extra time with my family which doesn’t usually happen. I also took time to focus on improving myself by trying new hobbies and catching up on sleep.

2020 has also given me the ability to make the most of a situation. For example, I wasn’t able to spend as much time with my friends during the pandemic, but I was able to spend quality time with my family, especially with my sister before she left for college.

I’ve learned from 2020 that there is going to be good and bad in every thing in life and what matters most is your perspective. I’m a glass-half-empty type of person, but I think 2020 has helped me to see the positive side of bad things and I’m grateful for that.

Overall, 2020 was a crazy year and something that nobody has ever experienced before. I have no clue when the world will return to normal but if there’s one thing that I do know it’s that I’m going to appreciate being able to wake up at 8:30 a.m. for school while it lasts!

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