My New Normal
By Melanee Terry
Thursday, March 12, 2020 was a day that I will never forget. I was told to pack my bags and go back home to California because of the COVID-19 outbreak across the country. The day before on March 11, the entire campus was told that classes would be online and students in the residence halls had to leave. I am a student athlete on the softball team and our season was still on. We were scheduled to leave that Saturday for Myrtle Beach to play our first games until we were told as a team that our entire season was cancelled. Everyone had tears in their eyes as we said our goodbyes to the seniors in the following days. I packed my bags in my dorm room and started to prepare for my new lifestyle as a college student taking only online classes.
It did not hit me until a couple of days later that all the work we put in as a softball team would be put to waste. All of the 6 a.m. workouts, team lifts, and practices were for nothing. The same 18 girls would never get to play a single game together. Although it saddened me, I noticed every university in the country cancelling their spring sports. I couldn’t stay mad because there was no one to be mad at. Thousands of other athletes across the country were in the same boat as me. COVID-19 is obviously something bigger than softball and sports. Everything is getting cancelled and closed for safety precautions that are out of our control. Once I got home, more and more schools and businesses were getting closed. The country was put on pause and I quickly realized how much my life would change.
I was greeted by my family at the airport. Although it was nice to be home with my loved ones, it is bittersweet. I was very thankful to be able to fly home immediately and see them. However, it felt weird to be home in March. I should be playing softball right now in South Carolina with my teammates, not sitting on the couch in my living room. It does not feel right to be home. I do not get to go into the CIL anymore and go into my normal spot to do homework. Everything feels wrong.
But, on the bright side, I get to see my family everyday. I get to pet my dog and eat home cooked food. I have already seen a big change in lifestyle back home compared to Presque Isle. While at school, I heard stories of empty grocery stores and empty malls, but I did not think it was true. I went to the grocery store a couple days after I got home and saw it with my own eyes. We were unable to buy paper towels or toilet paper, which has been stressful for my family. I noticed that diapers and baby wipes were not in stock at stores, which makes me think about the stress that mothers with young children are experiencing. Many families across the country are struggling financially because of COVID-19. This makes me even more grateful for the things in my life. My problems are much smaller than others.
I have had to adapt with my entire family as we deal with this together. My older sister who is in Law School, has classes over Zoom. I have Zoom classes and meetings, too, so finding a quiet area in the house can be very difficult sometimes. Gyms in my area have been closed, so my brother, who is a gym rat, has had to use our home gym, creating a lot of noise. We have all had a little cabin fever and it is even more difficult for my sister and I who are trying to balance school with the stress.
Despite all this stress and concerns about coronavirus, I am lucky to be with family. Although I am not getting to play the sport I love, I am thankful that I still have it. This is going to be a long summer, but I can’t wait to be back in Presque Isle when this all over.