Pandemic promotes cogitation, growth


Avery Olson

Many events were canceled due to distance learning, but seniors Avery Olson and Chloe Day were able to enjoy a student-organized senior sunrise.

The class of 2021 has lost a majority of their most memorable year of high school; many seniors felt as though they matured quickly due to the pandemic over the past year.
“I think I’ve really worked on mindfulness and adopting a positive mindset over the last year. I used to get so stressed out over the smallest inconveniences, but when something as life-altering as a global pandemic happens, you kind of have no choice but to go along with it and adapt,” senior, Avery Olson said.
A multitude of teenagers can agree to either being a different person or having a different mindset at the start of the pandemic versus a year later.
“I definitely have a different mindset than a year ago. A year ago my mindset was more focused on outside factors than it is now. Now I do a lot better at focusing on things within my control,” senior, Colton Tenney said.
“I realized that it’s so normal now for people to take things for granted. I think naturally we already do that because we’re humans. We forget that nothing lasts forever and it could be taken in a heartbeat. Now, I try to take advantage of the time I have with people and make the most of it. I try not to waste too much of my free time laying around when I could be doing other things that can benefit my life,” senior, Aaliyah Ibarra said.
The mental health of individuals around the world fluctuated tremendously. Some felt happier than ever because of the never-ending free time, while the majority felt a decline of joy from spending day after day at home.
“I have not been happier over the past year. There were a lot of things taken away and lots of loss. Change is always difficult regardless and in this case, it was almost inarguably negative. I was often not happy about the situation throughout the year,” Tenney said.
Although the pandemic is a year old, the shock from how the world arbitrarily paused still lingers.
“[The shutdown] felt so unreal. It was funny because my friends and I were so excited to not have school. Then the stay at home was extended and eventually I was kind of bummed out that we couldn’t go back to because I truly enjoyed Centennial and the people there. I learned that it’s okay to be alone, take other people’s lives into consideration, and also don’t let time pass you by because you can’t ever get it back,” Ibarra said.
“[The shutdown] was extremely jarring. It was heartbreaking realizing that in the blink of an eye, I wasn’t able to see my friends or leave my house, but I think I came to appreciate it. I spent every day doing whatever I wanted, which was something I hadn’t had the chance to do in years. I think a big lesson I’ve learned is that, even though it’s cliché, distance makes the heart grow fonder. The first time I saw my friends after lockdown was incredible, and I know that that’s a feeling that I’ll cherish forever,” Olson said.
Lessons learned throughout the pandemic are now engrained in students’ minds as they continue to mature.
“I wish I would’ve known that it’s okay to be afraid of growing up, but to not spend so much time thinking about it,” Ibarra said.
“I wish I had known sooner that we weren’t having a [football] season. I probably would have graduated at the semester. I also wish I would’ve learned to disassociate myself from people when I need to,” Tenney said.
“I think I’ve learned to let go of the little things and look at the big picture. A year ago, I was incredibly stressed because I was going to be on a field trip in San Francisco the day of my boyfriend’s senior prom. If I had known that both the trip and his prom would be canceled, I wouldn’t have needed to worry about it at all. Putting that in perspective now, it was totally insignificant, but at the time it felt like the end of the world. I wish I had been able to understand how small some of my problems would feel in the future, and I hope that I’m able to put those problems into perspective going forward,” Olson said.