This essay shared third prize in the East County Leadership Council (ECLC) 2021 COVID-19 Essay Contest. The prize money was provided through the generosity of ECLC donors and a grant from the Foundation for Economic Justice.

By Maryam Hashimi

El Cajon Valley High School students

July 13, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – I was glad schools closed when Covid hit, but I wasn’t aware of the difficult part that was ahead.

One of the hardest aspects of COVID-19 was being home all the time. I was heavily involved in school events throughout the school year. I would go to school at 7am and return at 7pm

Moving from a busy schedule to an empty schedule was a significant change. I just didn’t know what to do with myself at home. My athletics, volleyball, and fashion show were all canceled, which made me very sad. Those were the only things that could keep me motivated and happy every day. I got depressed and had sporadic moments where I just cried because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to achieve my goals.

Also, I constantly felt unmotivated not to be active. I used to go to bed late and wake up late in the morning. My eating habits got thrown off the schedule because of my new sleep pattern. I started eating too many unhealthy snacks, got up at 2:00 p.m., had lunch at 6:00 p.m., and skipped breakfast and dinner. I would also stay up all night eating snacks. I would think too much: “What am I doing with my life?”

I also couldn’t win the Junior Female Athlete of the Year Award because although I was sure to win, having fought tirelessly throughout the year, the event was canceled.

We couldn’t go to universities for the next senior year, which made our decision to go to college difficult. I applied to many colleges and universities, but I didn’t know which one would suit me best.

It’s incredibly depressing not knowing what to do next.

I was unsure about colleges and worried that I would make a mistake. Not knowing which college to go to is like not knowing what to do with my life and having no future. College Decision Day on May 1st was very stressful for me because I had to make a decision about my future. I was under a lot of pressure, and as a first generation college student, I had no one to help me navigate the education system and make decisions.

“What if I don’t choose the right college?”, “What if I move far?”, “If I move far, do I have the money to pay rent and other necessities?”, “Should I to go to college? only then transfer? “,” How do I pay for the books? “,” What if I make a mistake and damage my future? “,” What if … “

These questions made me even more scared of college and colleges. Since I couldn’t go to school in person, it was also more difficult for me to talk to my professors about college options. With all these challenges I learned a lot of new things that I will benefit from in the future. COVID-19 has taught me to spend more time alone and be more independent.

You don’t need anyone to have fun or be happy; You can have fun and be happy on your own.

I also learned to value myself more than usual by realizing that I am perfect in my way and shouldn’t compare myself to others. It took me a long time to love myself, but eventually I did. Almost every day I stood in front of the mirror and told myself beautiful things. You are beautiful, you are the best and you can achieve anything. you got it in your head. These kind words have, in my opinion, contributed to my increased self-confidence and happiness.

Learning to be more confident and cheerful is beneficial as you don’t need someone to tell you how beautiful you are or to make you happy.

After seeing so many people die from COVID every day, I realized the importance of my health and started eating healthier, drinking more water, and exercising. There have been many other changes in my life as a result of COVID. This virus has had both positive and negative effects on me.


If this article is reprinted, the author must be identified as follows: “Third Prize Winner in the East County Leadership Council 2021 COVID-19 Essay Contest”.

© 2021 District Management Council East. Reprinting permission granted if the attribution is given correctly.


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