Students reflect on a full year of living in a pandemic

The World Health Organization announced that it has been one year since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri, file)

By Erianne Lewis | Staff Writer

It has been just slightly over one year since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. Bakersfield Calif., freshman Francesca Beccari said she was at school when she realized the severity of the coronavirus.

“I was in student government in high school, and they had just had a district meeting saying that they were going to shut all the schools down for two weeks,” Beccari said. “I was like in my sixth period class. I remember it so vividly.”

During the beginning stages of quarantine, Beccari said she spent a lot of time with her family.

“My sister had just had a baby, and so I spent most of my time there. I just took the time to enjoy everything,” Beccari said. “I went swimming with my brother, and I would go over and babysit, and I did a lot of cooking with my parents. It was honestly really nice.”

Beccari said in January 2021 her entire family got COVID-19, and it really took a toll on them.

“My parents are a lot older than normal parents, I guess, of kids my age,” Beccari said. “I was worried because my dad is in his late 60s and my mom is almost 60. They got really, really sick and so did my uncle, so I was afraid that they were going to die, and it brought me right back to the idea that I wouldn’t have my parents. It was really scary. Thank God they are okay now.”

Waimea, Hawaii freshman Lily Ameika said she spent much of quarantine reaching out to incoming Baylor students online.

“Honestly, I think if I hadn’t been stuck at home without anything to do, I wouldn’t have reached out to as many people as I did, but because I had so much time, I really took that time to try to meet new people at Baylor and try to make friends,” Ameika said.

Ameika said it was difficult not being able to have a graduation, to say a proper goodbye to her classmates.

“I went to a boarding school, so a lot of the people that I got to know in high school I may never see again,” Ameika said. “Having to suddenly leave everyone without having a graduation or a senior night was a really, really big deal.”

Beccari said she feels very content with her life at the moment and is appreciative of all Baylor is doing.

“My expectations, especially with Baylor, are surpassed. I just feel so grateful,” Beccari said. “A lot of my friends back home just stayed in California, so they are not able to go to class or study at the library. I know I would be miserable and failing if I wasn’t able to go to classes. I feel so much hope, especially with some of my teachers. I’m in BIC, and every teacher that I’ve had is so kind, loving and supporting and accommodating. I just feel like I’m learning so much that I’m very, very content with how life is going right now.”

Beccari said the most valuable lesson she learned during the pandemic was how important and valuable spending time alone can be.

“I learned that being alone doesn’t mean that you are lonely. I got to spend a lot of time self-reflecting and reading, journaling and doing stuff that makes me happy,” Beccari said. “It just gave me time to appreciate just being with the people that I love and being thankful for our health and safety.”

Ameika said she would tell her pre-COVID-19 pandemic self to not be afraid of what is coming.

“Don’t be scared about the future. Accept new things and be open and willing to have things the way that they might not have always been,” Ameika said. “Just be super willing to [accept] anything that might come your way.”