Dear Coronavirus,


Rhyen Standridge

A journal lays open, pen touching the paper, as thoughts surrounding COVID-19 spill on to the page.

This isn’t the first time I have written to you, and it probably won’t be the last. And as much as I want to stop giving you the attention you don’t deserve, I can’t seem to escape the way you’ve changed everything.

I made a list, a list of all the things you took away from me and every other high schooler. You took away not just one of my proms, but two. You ended my junior year soccer season before it even started. You made me quarantine twice, forcing me to scramble day and night to catch up in school. 

This list doesn’t end here. I sometimes go to bed thinking about all the things I am missing out on. After four years of hard work in high school, all these enjoyable moments are suddenly a lot harder to enjoy. Going to finals in Speech & Debate isn’t the same on a computer screen and tweeting about Nov. 11 doesn’t even compare to setting up the Veterans Day breakfast in person. Not to mention missing homecoming, student sections at football games, sitting with more than five friends at lunch, and study sessions in the library after school. 

And the more I add to this list, the more I get angry with myself. Here I am, upset about missing out on the adventures of highschool, while there are people suffering from you, coronavirus. I feel like Kim Kardashian after she lost her diamond earring in the ocean and Kourtney responds, “Kim, there’s people that are dying.”

A lot of people are dying. To be exact, President Joe Biden just announced that 527,726 Americans have died in his speech on March 11 which marked one year after you tore your way across our world. He noted that it’s “more deaths than in World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, and 9/11 combined.” That number doesn’t even include the deaths outside of America.

But I’m still upset about prom. 

It makes me feel better to know I’m not the only one. Every senior has expressed sorrow to all the end-of-year activities being cancelled or modified to fit CDC guidelines. But has every senior taken a step back and realized how blessed we are? 

I hadn’t. Not until recently. The last time I wrote to you, Coronavirus, the first line of my letter was, “You have taken so much away from me.” And as true as that statement was, I was focused on all the wrong things. I was too busy adding to my list of sorrows to realize there was a different list I should have been making: a blessings list. 

Mine starts with the fact that you’ve stayed away from me, Coronavirus. I haven’t gotten sick and neither has my family. I’m blessed that my grandparents have gotten the first part of the vaccine and that every adult will soon be eligible for theirs.

I’m blessed that we even have in-person school right now. Blessed for free lunches and stimulus checks. Blessed for having a job and a roof over my head and not having to worry about where my next meal comes from. 

I guess what I’ve learned over the past year filled with surgical masks and hand sanitizer was that it’s okay to be upset about whatever is going on in my life (whether it be a bad test grade or a deadly pandemic) so long as I acknowledge everything I have to be thankful for too. 

So yes, you have ruined so many proms, graduations, education, jobs, and lives, but you’ve also provided some valuable lessons along the way.

But feel free to take the next one-way space trip outta here as soon as possible.

Worst Regards,

Natalie Walsh