Covid-19. It is funny how one word, one disease was able to change the entire world. Millions of people have been infected; millions of jobs have been lost; economies have been wrecked; it has caused more than 300000 confirmed deaths worldwide; canceled major events such as the Olympic Games; and consequently affected the lives of people who had many events, projects, and organizations going on during this time; including me. Little did I know that on March 13, 2020., I would be in school for the last time during my junior year; I would work on my Gold Award Project for the last time; I would study for the SAT and ACT soon to find out that they had been canceled until further notice. This is what Covid-19 took away from me. I remember on our last day of school before spring break how we were hoping that we would not have school due to coronavirus. We even prayed in my Pre-Calculus class that we would not go back to school for 2 weeks, hopefully 3. When the news came that we would have a one-week delay from school, my classmates and I were thrilled. I remember us texting each other in the group chat “YESSSS!!”, “Thank you Lord”, ecstatic emojis, and many other things. Little did we know that we would never go back to school. We were not going to be able to experience Ring Rose or our Junior Prom, and the seniors might not even be able to graduate on time. This is when the tone changed, and suddenly, the group chat was full of sadness and crying emojis. We started telling each other that we missed school and wanted to go back (something none of us ever thought we would say). We missed our friends, we missed our teachers, we even missed the cafeteria fries. Little did we know that on March 13, 2020, we were enjoying each other camaraderie and classroom atmosphere for the last time, maybe this school year. Indeed, in the early days of April 2020., Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath began preparing the school community for the potential closure of schools for the rest of the academic school year. Covid-19 impacted my life on many levels. From a community service standpoint, I was on track to complete my Girl Scout Gold Award Project, which is the highest award Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors can earn within the Girl Scouts of the USA. This is a prestigious award and I was planning on developing a community garden that involved the entire community in learning the benefits of organic farming as well as mentoring other girl scouts and raising awareness on the impact of organic farming in the environment. We were supposed to start planting in mid-March and I had already received the “go ahead” from council as well as written a detailed plan of items to purchase for the successful community enterprise. I was so excited to begin purchasing the items until I heard the breaking news. The federal government was shutting down the government and state authorities echoed the need to implement social distancing measures to reduce the spread of the virus. Covid-19 took something major away from my life that was going to benefit others and fulfill a personal satisfaction of community service. My gold award project was also an added value on my resume, which would help me stand out in college applications. The project is now put on hold until further notice. I do not know when or if it is ever going to start again. My opportunities keep diminishing but I hope that they will not become the size of this virus. From a curriculum standpoint, after taking the SAT and ACT both once before, I was ready to take them again in May and June, in order to obtain the required score for admission into my dream university. I had been studying every day, doing at least 150 questions. But, just recently, the organizing boards canceled the testing dates of May and June 2020. Another personal hit from the Covid-19 saga. The spring tests are especially important in the junior’s year academic schedule because it gives the opportunity to gauge your level and allows for more time to retake the exams depending on your scores before your college applications deadline. Both SAT and ACT organizing boards are currently working on administering the tests in a home-based format if possible. I wished I could turn the clock back and retake the tests administered at the end of 2019, and study harder to get my desired score instead of using those tests as tryouts. That scenario would have helped me avoid today’s worries with the advent of Covid-19. The current situation is quite confusing for the entire student population. There are some colleges and universities such as Amherst, University of California System, Williams College, Tufts, Northeastern, Boston University, University of Washington, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Tulane University, Case Western University to name a few, that are already waiving standardized testing requirements for the upcoming college applications, which might be good or bad news for the test takers depending on your confidence level with test taking abilities. This scenario is good for students that are not good test-takers and can let their other talents shine through their application. This category of students relies less on academics but more on extracurricular activities as well as community service endeavors. However, the current scenario is partly bad for good test-takers like me. Test-taking is a way to set students apart from other students. It is quite common for a student to have a 4.0 GPA, but it is not as common to obtain an SAT score of 1580 or 34 on the ACT to tag-along with that academic grade. The current situation and readjustment will cause a prejudice to good test-takers whose asset opportunity to stand out in the college application is taken away due to the coronavirus outbreak. This new paradigm puts us in the same pool as other college applicants, which might cause a disadvantage in the admission process. Currently, this adjustment is only pertaining to some colleges, and hopefully the situation does not persist, causing me and many others to rethink our college application strategies.
Besides taking away so many lives and vibrant economies around the world, Covid-19 has taken away in-classroom activities, community service, and standardized tests opportunities for added value on the college application portfolio. However, I will not let the pandemic disrupt my long-term goal of attending the college of choice and helping others once the reopening of the economy is safe in our state. I am still studying for my SAT and ACT and gathering additional information for my Gold award project. The impact of Covid-19 on our lives is undeniable but I am confident that through scientific breakthrough with a vaccine; we will have the last word. Together as citizens of the world, we must stand and fight this virus.