(Image courtesy of Ashleigh Almodiel)
UC Merced

Column: My bobcat Zoom world

Everything changed when the pandemic occurred. It seemed as if we existed in an unfamiliar world. It took away the days in creating and exploring new adventures, new stories and new chapters.

Our lives changed, we lost track of time, we lost summer, we lost the carefree days and we lost the smiles on our faces, turning it to fear as the virus continues to spread. Closing all our doors, declining physical interactions and isolating ourselves from the outside world.

Many did not expect that the pandemic will prolong half of this year. I never foresaw it at all. I used to visualize how I will spend my last year of high school with my best friends, as well as how I will soon walk on stage, seeing all my family members waving and cheering for me, but the result was different.

I had my graduation and 18th birthday on the same day: June 13. I was excited and happy since we were allowed to have drive-through graduation, but it never felt complete.

It was more on hi and byes from a far distance, no hugs, no wishes or no see you again soon. I never knew senior year ends so abruptly, but I was never alone. I was in the same boat as all 2020 graduates who experienced and felt the same emotions. But, looking at the bright side, quarantine helps us discover who we are and what we stand for.

By the way, my name is Ashleigh, and welcome to my Bobcat Zoom life, the journey where I discovered several interesting ideas about me; that I never knew before the quarantine.

I uncovered new approaches as I cope in my zoom classes, particularly my first year of college and my daily life. Yes, the pandemic stopped me from the activities I used to do. I missed the good old days, where I was part of multiple organizations and clubs inside and outside school.

I love volunteering, as it benefits my community and inspires others to do the same. I love socializing and meeting different people. However, as the pandemic began, everyone became less productive, including me. I realized that during these days, everyone needs happiness, smiles and energy.

(Image courtesy of Ashleigh Almodiel)

Therefore, I started leading zoom activities, reaching out to youths, mainly giving each other support to strengthen our mental health and social well-being.

Having online activities also helped me. I remained positive and was able to comfort my friends. Learning that we all need each other during these challenging times, supporting one another from the ups and downs. Sending a simple message can make someone smile. Our positive actions can inspire anyone to persevere.

Helping yourself to move forward signifies the greatest lesson I acquired in life. It assists me as I transition to college, yet I often thought of the questions: Am I ready to open my new chapter in life? Am I able to enjoy my first year?

I got accepted to the University of California Merced. The new journey that my feet will walkthrough.

College was unique since it was a zoom university. 2020 was different from all previous years. It is the year where you challenge yourself that you can do anything, even if our lives continue the quarantine cycle.

But then again, you can create possibilities, making dull days enjoyable, as well as being able to manifest a growth mindset to develop yourself. Quarantine encouraged me to use the time to explore what you can achieve. I believe you can do it as well.