When reality set in

Recalling moments of when the pandemic first became real

Hailey Echan, Features Editor

One of Erika-Monique Mariano’s family members working at the hospital while unable to see his family due to COVID. (Courtesy of Erika-Monique Mariano)

Students at Seattle Pacific University have had to embrace the devastation of COVID-19 for over a year now. The moment of ‘oh no, this is actually happening’ was different for everyone.

For freshman nursing major Erika-Monique Mariano the impact of COVID-19 hit much deeper than the stay-at-home orders. It all became real to her when there were more permanent consequences.

“When my family members passed away due to COVID and I had to stay away from everyone else in my family since they are all nurses and doctors,” Mariano said.

Others struggled with adapting to the mental shifts that occurred due to regulations and guidelines. For Tianna Flores, freshman psychology major, the adjustments were not easy and not welcomed.

“I couldn’t find happiness in everyday life anymore,” Flores said.

While happiness was lacking in the lives of people across the nation, many struggled with mourning the loss of what could have been.

The weight of the pandemic became heavier for students like freshman psychology major Sarah Day when she did not get the ending she had been working towards for the last four years of high school.

“It felt like there wasn’t closure which was definitely the hardest part,” Day said. “It was just really a feeling of loss because growing up in a small town it was so easy to see the fun experiences of other senior classes.”

Erika-Monique Mariano’s family member working hard at the hospital to keep patients safe. (Courtesy of Erika-Monique Mariano)

The actuality of it all meant the loss of prom, senior nights, graduation parties, and more.

“Losing high school graduation and everything that came with senior year made it much more real,” Day said.

There is no doubt that the pandemic has affected everyone in some way. As of April 8, 2021, there have been 5,357 deaths in Washington State alone.

As the death toll rose throughout the last 12 months, many other changes occurred that affected the lives of people across the country.

Junior sociology major Amanda Lester, who lived on campus, had to deal with the gravity of the pandemic quickly.

“Having to move back home for the rest of the school year [made it real]. I think the biggest loss I felt was having to move out of the dorm and no longer getting to live with my roommate,” Lester said.

The timing of it all made it even harder.

“Spring quarter is always the most fun on campus as so many students are out on the lawns playing games, having conversation, or studying for classes,” Lester said. “There is such a light atmosphere that I am really sad we all missed out on.”

Rachael Fasano, junior music composition and research major, understands that perhaps one of the most impactful losses of all was the loss of physical human connection. No warm smiles to greet you at the door, no welcoming handshakes, and worst of all,

“No hugs,” Fasano said.