Hope will eventually prevail

SPU students discuss a year of living in a pandemic

Isabella Tranello, Staff Reporter

March 19 will mark the one year anniversary of the stay-at-home orders that were executed in response to the COVID-19 virus. Every moment since then has changed the lives of everyone in ways that many did not expect.

MaryBeth Delgado, a freshman criminal justice major, like many, had a monumental milestone in her life flipped upside down.

I was planning on coming to Seattle and staying in the dorms on campus for my freshman year before the pandemic happened! Right now, I am living in Bend, Oregon. I’m staying at home with my family due to COVID-19,” Delgado said.

Instead of getting to walk around on campus and experience the wonders of university life, Delgado is learning from a virtual setting within her home.

Mariah Olsen, a Sophomore from Albion, Nebraska is
majoring in Asian studies. (Sharli Mishra)

When the pandemic first hit, Delgado was surprised to see how serious many people were taking the disease as they sported new facial coverings. Now that it has been a year living in the pandemic, wearing a mask is normal not just to her but to almost everyone in the country.

“Initially, I remember seeing someone with a mask on and thinking, ‘Wow that person is taking this seriously’ That was in February last year, and now I can’t even think about going anywhere without my mask.” Delgado said.

Even though most of us have become accustomed to the everyday expectations of living in a pandemic, such as wearing a mask, that doesn’t mean that the struggles of COVID-19 are over. The struggles are still there, but day by day the light at the end of the tunnel becomes closer. People are still holding onto hope. 

Delgado has had her own set of struggles during the rampant spread of the COVID-19 virus, but she was still able to find light in those around her. 

“I’d like to consider myself a very happy and cheerful person, positive in my thoughts of the life ahead of me; COVID has taken a toll on my positive outlook!” said Delgado. “Yet, I have an amazing family that I get to be surrounded by every day, and my dog Winston has been a huge help in keeping my spirits lifted.”

Struggling during the pandemic is common amongst college students and everyone else. 

For sophomore asian studies major

, that is no different. Olsen, while living on campus, has still felt like large changes have occurred in her life.

“Because I chose to live on campus, I’m surrounded by academics and assignments 24/7 with no breathing room due to all of the restrictions.” Olsen said. “If not doing homework, I’m constantly running my mind, missing home, being critical…It’s hard to find time to healthily relax my mind from these stresses.” 

However, despite those struggles, Olsen is aware of what she needs to do to offer herself some much needed relief.

“I know what I need to do to get out of it like go on hikes, talk to people, and meet new people, but it’s the hardest to take the first step into something out of routine,” Olsen said. 

Like most, Olsen did not see this pandemic coming or the struggles it would bring. It was something she would have never expected to happen, but it did, and we have to live with the realities of COVID. We might as well make the most of it. 

“At first, I thought it was crazy that it was blowing up so much. I didn’t realize that, in our time, we could have a pandemic. It seemed like something only you read in the history textbooks. I’ve come to terms with it, but mostly by keeping it out of my head and just rolling with it. As they say now, ‘it is what it is,’” Olsen said. 

With the vaccine getting disrupted around the world it is much easier to be able to come to terms with what has happened and hope is beginning to rise within people. Especially when those closest to us are gaining the opportunity to be safer. 

“My dad is part of the medical community, so he got his vaccines a few weeks back. Being able to see someone you know personally get the vaccine is a huge part of realizing that this pandemic will pass and for me, sooner than I was thinking,” Delgado said. 

Unfortunately, the days are still not as full of light as they used to be. The future is still unclear and there will be lasting effects of the pandemic which are beyond the control of a vaccine. 

“I think it would be quite naive of me to think that there won’t be everlasting effects of the virus. I truly wish that there won’t be strenuous effects, but I do believe that living through a worldwide pandemic such as we have, things will most certainly never go back to the way they were before,” Delgado said. 

The days may still seem at their darkest and the world may never go back to how it was but there are things that many students are looking forward to doing again. There is hope that we will be able to be together again without any masks. 

“I would love to spend a weekend out with my closest friends and go hiking at the Olympic National Park! Perhaps this is something that is still possible right now, but we’ll have much better pictures if we do not have to wear masks,” Olsen said. 

Delgado is also patiently and excitedly waiting to get back out in the world to enjoy precious memories like in years before.

“I just can’t wait to put my Mariners hat on, get a hotdog and watch a game at the ballpark with my dad,” Delgado said.

Under all of the changes and hardships that the pandemic has brought, there is fear in the future, yet also, there is hope for a brighter tomorrow. The world may seem bleak right now and it may not be getting better any time soon, but hope is what will pull us through.

“There will be lasting effects, just like any big thing that ever happens, whether those effects are imprinted in our minds or in our physical being as well. Fortunately, just how there are lasting effects, there are also cessations of such things,” Olsen said.