By Abigail Schield
I always knew that I would experience many things throughout my life, but I never thought I would live through a global pandemic. 2020 was one of the hardest years as it brought so much loss, tragedy, and hardship, not only for me, but for the entire world. However, looking back at it now, 2020 really pushed me to be a better person.
It was the start of the 2020 spring semester in January when I was in my microbiology class, learning about viruses. We learned that there was a virus called COVID-19 that had begun spreading in Wuhan, China. No one really knew about this virus or what would be to come of it.
Every class after that, the professor would put a live map up on the screen to show us how quickly the virus was spreading across the world. It began to move closer to the United States and then closer to Maryland. More and more people were becoming sick, and something had to be done to keep everyone safe. Masks were required everywhere we went, everyone had to maintain a six-foot social distance, and visiting friends and family became difficult because of the fear of infecting them. Then Stevenson announced in March that there would be a weeklong extension of our spring break, which is when we began learning virtually. This virtual learning has now lasted for over a year. Restaurants, entertainment, and many other places began closing and restrictions were enacted. The world that everyone, including myself, knew quickly began to change. People were sick and dying, and frontline workers took care of them.
At this time, I was a first responder and worked at a hospital. I remember the first time I had to go into work after the first couple of cases appeared in Maryland and to tell the truth, I was scared. I knew
that I would be knowingly exposing myself at work, and potentially bringing it home to my family. I knew that I would see the people who were sick and dying firsthand. I did not think that I had the courage to do something like that, but I quickly learned that there were people who needed help and there was a job to be done.
Working in the hospital and being a first responder during this pandemic really pushed me to go against my fears and gave me the opportunity to do something good for people. As a Nursing major, I learned that if I have the opportunity to help others, I have to go through with it. I had also met some of the most amazing people along the way who truly inspired me. There were many nurses who were working around the clock, in full personal protective equipment, who were working away from their home and family, and who took the responsibility of holding the hand of a person who was dying from COVID. Despite these hardships, they always did their best to stay positive and never give up.
2020 was a hard year to say the least. I missed time with family and friends. I worked hard. I had to learn how to learn through a computer. But I made it through. With the vaccine now in production, I am now getting another opportunity to help people better protect themselves by working at a vaccination site. This gives me hope that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel.