Lives Upended – Isabella

This series illustrates COVID-19’s effect on Midwesterners — one person at a time.

“In general? It’s just messed up a lot of my plans, which I feel is the most disappointing part of the experience—it was right before spring break, and I had plans to go to Dallas. I missed out on the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, something that I look forward to every year. Seeing friends is such a big aspect of everyday life when you go to school and now you’re not in school—okay, I don’t miss school. I don’t miss the aspect of going to classes and all of that, but I do miss the social aspect of it and having a routine. So, in general, it’s just, it’s really thrown everything off that I’m used to, and I was looking forward to, because now summer’s probably also going to be canceled.

“I’m really upset about [missing high school graduation]. I think it didn’t hit me that I was upset about it until the day I was supposed to have prom, and I was like, ‘Oh, I’m not at prom right now.’ But I also went to prom last year, so if it didn’t make, it didn’t have as much of an impact, but it’s like you get one high school graduation, and I didn’t have the best high school experience so I was looking forward to graduating as a way of saying goodbye and good riddance and starting the college process. I was looking forward to graduation because it finally felt like I was going to be a college student.

“You know when you go to high school, you’re surrounded by people who are there because of the environment. They live by you. When you go to college, it’s going to be people who want to be there as much as you do. It’s going to be like-minded people who are just going to be there to support you, and that’s something that you just don’t get in high school because everybody’s high schoolers and they’re teenagers, and they’re narcissistic and selfish. So I just want that change. I want a change of scenery.

“It’s really scary. People are dying from the illness, and that’s really scary, but there’s also certain aspects about life where people are going to be out of work. Unemployment was at a good place, at a better place, and now it’s going to be not as good. There’s people with mental illness or people who need food, homeless people. There’s a lot of people in need, and they can’t get what they need and people with mental illness, people who are in abusive relationships, children who need school for the meals, and to get away from alcoholic parents. Yes, I’m upset about prom getting ruined and graduation not happening and my summer being canceled, but I feel that on the grand scheme of things, there’s just so much worse happening in the world that we need to be paying attention to. And I feel when you talk about the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re going to talk about ‘oh, well, here’s where it is, here’s how many people are affected from the virus’, but nobody really talks about the people who are affected by what the virus is doing in quarantine. 

“I think people need to get off their high horse and social distance because all the people you see breaking the self-lockdown are the people who are like ‘oh, I just want my summer back, and I miss high school, or I miss college.’ But they think they’re so entitled to go see their friends or their boyfriends or anyone that they’re going to break social distance and make things worse. People just need to trust that it’s working, and it’s going to get better.”

— Isabella (17)

Riverside, IL

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