In the fifth and final part of our series of essays from kids, you’ll hear from Rory, in California; Shanaya, in Tennessee; and Carolina, in New York. They experienced loneliness and isolation during the pandemic. Now, all of them are looking ahead and fighting for a bright future—one where COVID-19 will be history!
TFK Kid Reporter Rory Hu, age 11
Blame the Avengers. They took the Infinity Stones, altered the flow of time, and turned the world upside down. Seriously, 2020 felt so strange. It was as if we had entered a parallel timeline. Everything around me has gone virtual: virtual school, virtual playdates, virtual birthday parties. This virtual world made me feel anxious, lonely, and bored, at first. Then it hit me that this past year, my family has had a chance to spend more time together than ever before. Same with my friends. For example, I had no idea about a friend’s artistic skills until we began collaborating on a Zoom whiteboard. Although the real distance was very great, we got much closer virtually.
The world is as real as before, if not more so, despite all the virtual activity. The issues around me, such as the California wildfires and Asian hate crimes, are very real, even though I learned about them online. The pandemic is not the only battle we are fighting. It’s time to get real and stand up for our future.
Shanaya Pokharna, age 12
I had never imagined that at age 12, I would be witness to something so unusual, something that would become history: a pandemic, something people only hear about in textbooks. Unimaginable, unfathomable, unforgettable is how I describe 2020.
This was a year full of emotions. My mother was sick in an isolated room for 20 days. She got COVID-19 when the world was waking up to “just another flu” in early March. My father is an infectious-disease physician. He tirelessly cared for COVID patients in inundated hospitals, navigating the lack of supplies and finally contracting the disease himself.
So, 2020 has matured me by a few years. From my parents and the people around me, I learned the virtues of compassion, patience, hard work, selflessness, dedication, gratefulness, and passion toward one’s profession and family. There are so many things we take for granted. But 2020 made me realize how important these things are.
Carolina Caraballo, age 11
Bronx, New York
A year ago, I said goodbye to my life as I knew it and hello to the infamous year in quarantine: 2020, the year I will never forget, a year full of changes I'm still getting used to.
As a student, I was asked to change how I learn. When quarantine began, I was midway through fifth grade. From one day to the next, my bedroom, kitchen, and dining table became my classroom. I had to learn how to learn on a screen. Online learning had its perks, and was even exciting at first. You can’t beat the comfort of being home. However, the seemingly endless Zooms got old real quick. Top that with feelings of loneliness and isolation, and I had had enough of remote learning a month in. No amount of screen time could make up for in-person interactions with friends.
I am now in the sixth grade and have returned to school in person two days a week. Returning has been an interesting and different experience. Oh, who am I kidding? It’s been plain weird! But I'm grateful that I get to see teachers and friends face-to-face.
I keep reminding myself that 2020 will make for great stories to look back on when we are older. I had a socially distanced 11th birthday. I had endless family time. I learned how to make scrambled eggs, pancakes, banana bread, and cake from scratch.
My mind hasn’t fully wrapped itself around all that is now part of my history. Twenty years from now, a kid just like me will be learning about what I went through, in a history class. I think that’s pretty amazing!