By Clay Thompson | Intern
While it might not be clear whether or not COVID-19, in all of its forms, is finally going to be out of our lives, it can’t be denied that it has left a lasting impact on the world. From working remotely, to an emphasis on streaming, COVID-19 has changed the world in irrevocable ways, but not more so than in our personal lives.
For myself personally, COVID-19 has messed up my ability to recognize people. With the masks at Baylor now being optional in classes, I will definitely struggle to recognize people I haven’t met since the pandemic started — so essentially everyone at Baylor. It has become a challenge for me to realize who other people are from the eyes downward when the masks come off, and for me personally, I feel a bit self-conscious taking my mask off now. What if masks go away, and people really don’t like who I am underneath it? I am glad that no more masks means a return to some semblance of normalcy, even though my mask-wearing had created that same feeling for both my health and insecurities. This is a new challenge COVID-19 has placed on me that I will have to work to overcome.
Secondly, the pandemic has really influenced my memory. It has become harder and harder for me to remember my life and all the things I used to do before March of 2020. Albeit, that was almost two years ago, but still, life during COVID-19 has made it so I have forgotten more and more what I used to do before remote learning and social distancing was a thing. However, being as nerdy as I am, social distancing was not so uncommon for me. I don’t remember much of my senior year of high school other than what took place on the screen of my laptop. I barely remember what some of my old friends looked like, what we used to do when we hung out together. I even am forgetting some people I used to know before the pandemic and haven’t kept up with as well as I should have.
Third and perhaps most importantly, COVID-19 has made me more anti-social. Now for those who don’t know me well, here’s a little background. I was always a shy kid who preferred reading books in the library instead of going to recess. I was always looked at as a “weird kid,” just because I liked intellectual activities that most kids my age in early 2000s Mississippi did not. I was ruthlessly bullied for my interest in school, books and all things “nerds” liked from kindergarten till high school, so making friends and socializing was already not my strong suit. However, moving to California to start high school was a good experience because, despite adversity, I really learned to open up more and make friends.
However, when COVID-19 shut down the world, starting college with a social atmosphere became almost impossible for me. Being from out of state, and with no in-person Line Camp, I never got to meet my forever friends before college began. And many of the people I met over social media had already established friend groups or ghosted me when college started. This social failure, coupled with the quarantine and social distancing policies, led me to almost completely shut myself in. Other than classes and my roommates, I practically didn’t speak or socialize with anyone on a regular basis during my first year of college — something I truly regret doing. I am working now to be more social despite COVID-19, because socialization is extremely important for one’s life, especially in such a turbulent world of college and new adulthood.
As COVID-19 hopefully will end sometime soon, I think it’s important for me, as well as anyone who feels the pandemic has played an impactful role in their lives, to recognize what those changes might be. Whether they are good changes or not, it’s important to recognize them and accept that they are present. Whether you want to accept or change the way COVID-19 has affected your life is up to you, but recognizing the changes is the first step to take.