(Graphic By Taylor Rodriguez)

By Lex Gouyton
Staff reporter

Waking up to yet another text message about having to be tested for COVID-19 has become an annoying ritual it seems.

Being on a sports team during this pandemic means being tested an absurd amount of times in a three-month span, even though we are in the offseason.

For many spring sports, having a season, in general, is still up in the air. For many seniors, has become an anxiety-ridden topic of conversation. Any talk of a future season leaves me confused, purely because of the lack of clarity on the matter.

I can’t imagine the disappointment of a fall athlete when a game is postponed or canceled. Training day in and day out just to have yet another game ripped from the season must be frustrating.

How much joy has been stripped away by this pandemic of 2020?

I miss the simple pleasures of pre-COVID. I miss being able to go out without having to check twice before leaving the house to make sure you have a mask handy. I miss large gatherings and sporting events with fans from both teams, not just the home team.

I miss the simple luxuries that come with going off to college and experiencing freedom. I miss going to parties on the weekends to celebrate a win. I miss being able to hang out with large groups of friends and not having to worry about who they’ve been in contact with or if we’ve been exposed to a virus.

Now the thing we look forward to most is being able to rip that dreaded mask off as soon as we step foot outside.

How safe are we actually being though? In reality how many of your teammates, friends, co-workers, and even family are really going through the precautions to protect those who we love?

Traveling home for the holidays is on our minds lately. We are excited about the normalcy of a family gathering.

Southwestern has many students who are from different states. Others are from different countries. How many precautions are being taken in airports or once we arrive at home? Do we need to ask who our family members or friends have been around or exposed to before we hug them or finally get to see them after long periods?

It saddens me to think that I now have to ask my mom or dad who they have been around. I don’t want to ask if they’ve been wearing their mask outside their own homes.

Will we repeat the cycle in January? Will we have to be continually tested and wear masks anytime we leave our homes? Will games continue to be postponed or canceled for spring sports? Another pressing question is will we make it until May for the academic school year to end or will it be cut short?

And when students and faculty have returned from winter break, a question that plagues my mind is how many cases will pop up? Will there eventually be a death toll because people aren’t being considerate of the safety of those around them?

While in quarantine, I found myself bored out of my mind. I felt like I was on the brink of slipping into insanity. Not being able to hug my teammates or being able to simply go get food with my friends got to me more than I would like to admit.

I’d like to say I’m one of those people who thrives on my alone time. In all reality, being quarantined showed me just how much those around me mean and how much I value their physical presence in my life.

This seems to be the case with many. After quarantine, we now only want to be out with the public, due to going stir crazy.

This semester and overall academic year have brought so much uncertainty and fear for students, especially seniors.

The class of 2020 didn’t get to walk the stage for graduation. Will this happen to the class of 2021?

I am the first person in my family to attend college and graduate with a degree. It’s a big deal to me and is too many others who are completing the same achievement. Shouldn’t we all be celebrated as we deserve?

I would be willing to have two guests per person. I am willing to have two separate ceremonies in order for everyone to get to walk the stage with the people we have grown into adults with over the past two to four years. Those in the class of 2020 deserve the same opportunity.

We are willing to wait to hear a precautionary yes with restrictions, rather than an early no on the topic of walking the stage.

Will there be a post-COVID-19? Only we have the power to determine that by following the precautions and keeping not only ourselves but our loved ones safe as well.