Storyteller: Alex Mason
In March of 2020, Amanda (18) was sitting in class when she heard the news that she’d be staying home for nearly the rest of the year. She had felt disappointed, angry with the fact that she wouldn’t finish high school in the way the grades before her had. She knew many others felt the same way. Being an active band member for her school in Gladwin, she missed out on walking through the halls playing their homeschool theme on game days, playing the national anthem for Memorial Day, and even learning about the music itself.
Amanda had a good year before the shutdowns started happening. She enjoyed the antics that she’d get up to with friends before everything became socially distanced. Amanda loved to go to the river park and walk for hours. Amanda had a job detailing cars as well. She hated cleaning the trunks out which she still laughs about. She lost that job when the car wash closed shop. She was optimistic though and found a silver lining. She says everything happens for a reason.
Amanda doesn’t look for the bad in things, and the pandemic tested that outlook. She feels as if the time and isolation should be accredited to her mental success while locked indoors. No, Amanda doesn’t just exist during a time of peril. In fact, she strives and makes the best of a bad situation. She gained a sense of confidence in knowing that she’s completing her goals, having solidarity among her peers with the issues of days past, and the resources to mentally “dig in” to gain a finer grasp on life. The pandemic did not define her, nor shape her, but then led her to a better understanding of everything that is.
In times like these, you must laugh. Amanda may laugh when she sees the goofy masks that people display, but it is the social defiance to not wear the mask itself is what she really gets a kick out of. She believes that wearing a mask eases the mind of everyone around, as well as it being a simple request, and to help stop the spread. She believes that the Government wants to keep people safe and while doing so by mandating masks, Amanda believes it was a precaution well made at a small cost of freedom.
A teaching moment, or moral of 2020 to Amanda was to pay attention to the media that she consumed. She had seen firsthand how bias and false news had been pushed as an agenda, and it all fit the narrative of one political side, or another. She sees the pandemic as a political war and hopes to see it end for the betterment of one society or another.
Amanda attends Mid-Michigan College and is taking general curriculum classes to eventually transfer out to a university. Her plan is to find somewhere on campus so she may attend in-person classes to mitigate the time lost during the pandemic. She hopes one day that life can regain normalcy and while that process may be slow, she’ll continue to make the best out of a bad situation.