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Life before Covid 19 meant playing with my friends every day, and it was fantastic. During the pandemic, I experienced so many new situations that I learned to get used to it. Each change seemed vast and impossible, but I adjusted, and the world adjusted. I heard about Covid cases in China and Europe on the news, but I was not worried about it. Then one day I heard on the radio that March Madness was canceled. I was shocked. I had never experienced anything like this in my life. My favorite college basketball team the Wisconsin Badgers, was doing fantastic when the tournament got canceled. Then one by one all sporting events were canceled. I thought to myself, “How am I going to get used to this? What am I going to watch?” 

The cases in the US were rising so on March 11, 2020, President Trump banned all flights from Europe. This was when I realized that Covid was severe. Two days later, we heard about the first two cases in Milwaukee. I was at school when I heard. Our principal made an announcement and that school was going virtual for three weeks. When I listened to this, I was terrified. I had never experienced anything like this. It was hard to comprehend because no one in history had experienced this. I was scared, but some of my classmates were cheering and yelling. Our teachers were running around like crazy handing out papers. It was chaotic. They sent us to our lockers to get things for virtual school. I asked my English teacher if we need one of our notebooks. He said “no,” but then a few weeks later he gave us an assignment and we needed that notebook for it. I learned to get used to teachers changing plans and adapting. I decided to laugh. I did not know it the day we went home, but everything was going to change from that day. 

On the first day of virtual school, each teacher gave us three or four assignments for the week. I thought it was just insane that they gave us so many assignments each week, but I quickly got used to it. I would finish on Wednesday, so then I had Friday and Thursday off, to do things with my family and eventually play with friends.

The first time I wore a mask and tried running, I got dizzy and tired. I thought I would pass out, but every time I got more and more used to it. It’s still hard to breathe, but it’s doable. During the lockdown, I also had to learn how to use Zoom and Google Meet. Before Covid, I had never heard of either one, but then my karate class went virtual. The first time I used Zoom, I could not hear my instructors, and my camera was not working, but I got used to it. 

Two months later, the lockdown ended. I immediately went to my friend’s house. We played many baseball games that day, and it was the first time things felt back to normal. For these 6-7 months, everyone on the planet changed their lifestyle. It was very hard getting used to it, but I learned that I could live through change. Before Covid, I would wash my hands before every meal and use hand sanitizer two or three times a week. Now I do both like seven or eight times a day. The thing that stuck with me the entire time was that our freedom and health are things we are used to relying on but we cannot take for granted.

© Jacob Mlot. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.