It’s been a year since COVID-19 first emerged in the U.S. and to say the pandemic has changed the world would be a gross understatement. Due to the pandemic, our reality is quickly becoming that of a virtual one. It has disrupted everyday life and forced families to completely uproot their lives all around the globe. One such individual who has had their life altered by this virus is, Hayden Porter. Hayden is a senior, majoring in film at the University of North Alabama.
While working on a student film set, Hayden’s girlfriend tested positive for COVID-19 and he would also test positive shortly after. The film set was immediately shut down as a safety precaution and every cast and crew member was tested. Unfortunately, one of the students he came in contact with would end up testing positive as well.
Hayden began showing symptoms such as loss of taste and smell as well as head-splitting migraines on November 27th, 2020. Which he would describe as “The worst three weeks of my life.”
Connecting with family
The pandemic has made traveling home hard for many students, including Hayden. Who only went home for Christmas break or when he was instructed to by the university. When Hayden is back at school, he stays connected with his family and friends by video chatting and text messaging. And while there is an understandable disconnect from not being able to speak to his family or friends directly, he’s used this new virtual reality of ours to reconnect with some of his old high school friends.
The initial switch from an in-person format to an online format proved to be a challenge at first for Hayden. He would get easily distracted or procrastinate till the evening. Also, film is very much a hands-on major, and losing the element of a physical classroom and the ability to ask questions is a drastic change. Throughout the spring and fall semesters of 2020, Hayden was able to adjust to the online setting. He would attend each lecture at the same time he would if he were still meeting in person. And instead of sitting through a three-hour prerecorded lecture and trying to absorb everything in one sitting, he would pause the video when he needed, process what was being said, take notes and take a break if he needed.
The little things
Before the end of my interview with Hayden, I asked him one last question. “What’s something you didn’t appreciate until it was taken away due to COVID?” And his answer was perfect, “being able to drink from public water fountains.”
How could something so little and utterly meaningless be the perfect answer? Because there are no such things as “little things.” Every time you drag yourself out of bed for your 8AM lecture, finish that essay paper you waited till the last minute to start, or take a nice long drink of water, you create a meaningful moment. Yes, the world is in a dreadful state right now, but don’t discount the good thing.