By Sarah Knickerbocker
January 14, 2020 marks the first day I heard about the coronavirus. It was the second day of classes during my spring semester at Saint Michael’s College. My professor asked, “What’s happening in the news?” All 17 timid students looked down as to not make eye contact for fear of being the first person called on. Thankfully Nate broke the silence with a story about the running Democratic nominees for the upcoming election. My friend Minqi leaned over to me and asked if I had heard about the coronavirus? I hadn’t, so I encouraged her to raise her hand to share the news. She told us about how there had been four coronavirus related deaths in Wuhan, China and that it was spreading across the country fast. At the time, I had no idea that this virus would soon take away my classes, my job, my friends, and most importantly, my family.
February 11, 2020 the virus started to infiltrate the United States. My class continued to report on the amount of people infected and all the cases in the world. The numbers continued to rise exponentially every time our class met. It seemed like every news article had the word “coronavirus” in the headlines. We started to get anxious and worried about if this disease would come to Saint Michael’s. What would that mean for us as college students? There’s no way we would shut down, right?
March 28, 2020 marks my eleventh day in self-quarantine. To pass time, I would doodle in Illustrator, cook or bake something, go for a walk around the block, FaceTime friends, and paint with my little sister–all the activities I would normally not have time to do. The coronavirus had completely cleared my schedule. My scheduled volleyball tournaments; cancelled. My shifts at all four of my part-time jobs; cancelled. And the rest of the spring semester? You guessed it; cancelled. But don’t get me wrong, I am grateful to be safe in my home with my family. I just never could have imagined the ginormous impact a minuscule virus could have on the human race.
Sunday, March 29, 2020 my great Uncle Dave passed away. After days of being in critical condition, he lost his life to the coronavirus. When I remember his life, I think about the smoky summer barbecues in his backyard on the cusp of Lake Champlain. I think about all my high school softball games when I looked up and saw him waving to me from the bleachers. And I think about all the years celebrating my grandpa’s birthday together.
April 28, 2020 marks almost two months in self-quarantine. As I read Uncle Dave’s obituary, I am reminded about the fragility of life. I want to make my years on this earth meaningful whether I have 90 years here or 40. I want to follow in my uncle’s courageous footsteps and show nothing but love to those around me. I am sad that it took such a tragedy for me to come to this realization, but I am grateful that my Uncle Dave taught me this.
Before, the coronavirus death toll seemed like a distant number to me. Now, my heart hurts at the fact that every single day more and more people are losing their loved ones to this dreadful disease. Please be safe, responsible, and thoughtful to stop the spread of this deadly virus together. It is important to remember this is only temporary and the best is yet to come.