live intentionally.


I lost pretty much an entire year of my life. In March 2020, the big bad that I don’t even have to name turned from a slow-running stream to Niagara Falls. I don’t know how to describe this section of my life without using words or phrases that will have anyone who was in school or at work at this time banging their head against a wall. Everyone, at some point, received an email that started with “In these unprecedented times…” 

I was a freshman in March 2020. I remember exactly where I was when the COVID-19 pandemic was officially declared a pandemic. I went home for spring break and never went back to school. I texted my friends and sometimes saw them on Zoom calls. Classes never really resumed, and it was easy to see that many teachers and people that existed around me as authority figures didn’t have any more of an idea about what was happening than I did. I also spent the entirety of my sophomore year doing completely online school. 

That is where the problem arose. I was on my own, from March 2020 to around spring 2021, when I started to meet up with a friend who lives practically next door to me. During that span of time, my entire life was confined to my bedroom, my backyard, and the bits of life I could pick up from watching my classes live-streamed from my desktop. 

It became so easy to live life as a spectator. Sure, there were classes being taught with students sitting next to each other and talking and joking and laughing, but that was all happening on a screen in front of me, quite the symbol for my separation from everyone else. Time seemed to pass so quickly. I wanted to be there, in the classrooms and talking with my friends, but my fear of getting sick, a very valid fear may I add, meant I was stuck in my bubble. 

By the winter of my sophomore year, I had almost completely dissociated from reality. Nothing really mattered to me, because nothing could permeate the walls of my bedroom. I lost track of time, but not in a cute, quirky way. There was a point where I could not tell you what day or month it was. I don’t remember entire months of my life. I don’t know what I was doing, what I was reading, or what I was thinking. It simply wasn’t real. 

This was something that was really hard to cope with when I eventually went back to school in person for my junior year. Even though I was there, in the building, it was still so easy to keep that distance. I would have to make a conscious effort to be present, after over a year of watching the world from the sidelines. I had to choose to place myself in these situations, force myself to be a part of events, and at first, it was really difficult. 

For the first month or so of the WEB, during my first semester, I sat in a corner by myself, listening in on conversations but never really contributing. I was terrified. A big moment for me was when I volunteered to help the then Editor-in-Chief, Sophia Cordoba, cover a school board election. Putting myself out there was the first step in breaking down the wall I had built up. By the end of the year, Sophia was a close friend of mine, and even after graduation has helped guide me while I serve as Editor-in-Chief. 

I had to be intentional. I had to choose to put myself out there. I had to choose to not let my life pass by me. I had to rebuild a lot of bridges. I had to reconnect with people I hadn’t spoken to since freshman year. But I’m glad I did, because now many of them are my closest friends. 

Even now, I still have to make an effort to live intentionally. As a senior, it’s so easy to fall prey to letting the days go by. It’s early May as I write this, but in my mind, it was snowing last week. In my mind, I’m still waiting for winter break. In my mind, I’m still excited for a homecoming that has already passed. Again, I find myself wondering where the months have gone. Of that missing time, how much did I spend laying in bed? How much of it was spent scrolling on social media, when I could have been doing so much more? 

Really, your life is what you make it. That’s a lot of pressure, but it’s true. You can make it something great, or you can let it pass you by. You will never be in exactly the same place ever again. Savor it. Fully experience it. Maybe even write it down. Choose to be there for it.