A New Normal


Camryn Scully, Contributing Writer

March 20, 2020 was the day I left McKendree University. I had to take three connecting flights back home to Prince George, B.C, Canada. The airports and flights were emptier than usual, with a total travel time of 16 hours.  It was extremely stressful when I arrived at the Vancouver International Airport in Canada and went through customs. Two customs officers pulled me aside and grilled me with many questions. They wanted to know where I was coming from, where I was going, and if I was sick. They also informed me I needed to self-quarantine when I got home for 14 days. My parents had informed me not to cough and to say that I didn’t have a fever or any symptoms going through, the reason being that I could get taken on the spot into quarantine. This is not to say that I was sick. They warned me because this happened to one of my mom’s friends while traveling back home because she coughed going through the airport and they quarantined her on the spot. I was traveling alone and once I landed in Prince George it was a huge relief, but it was difficult because once I was home, I had to be quarantined for two weeks to make sure I had no symptoms. The hardest part was that I couldn’t even hug my parents when I landed; they stood a far distance from me which was heart-breaking because even though I didn’t have the virus, they couldn’t take any chances for the risk of getting it.

I loaded my luggage into my vehicle and had to drive myself home from the airport. I spent the two weeks of quarantine in a motorhome on my property with my mom bringing meals as I spent most of the time doing homework, watching TV, and overthinking. British Columbia was bad when I flew home with approximately 12,000 confirmed cases, but it is getting a lot better each day. Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, is taking all the precautions needed with making it mandatory to stay home and, if needed, going out only for essential items. Both my parents own businesses and had to temporarily shut them down with my mom having to lay off all her staff.

While being home, I haven’t liked the feeling of uncertainty, the worry of the aftermath, especially financially, and when or if this will end. This virus-induced situation has been traumatic but as my family would say, “you have to make the best out of this situation.” At first, I was struggling with the quarantine to get into a routine and having the energy to get out of bed.

This situation affected my plans for finishing my second semester at McKendree.  This was hard and many athletes at the university can relate with their seasons getting cut short. The McKendree women’s hockey team had qualified for Nationals which was our goal for the year, but we hadn’t realized that our last game as a team was at the conference tournament with eight seniors graduating on the team. We had our banquet on Zoom which was very emotional because some of us didn’t get the chance to say a proper goodbye. Throughout this year, I have treasured my teammates, and they still are teaching me so much, even from afar. They have stated to never take anything for granted and play every game like it’s your last because you never know what’s to come, which sadly happened to them with the outbreak of the coronavirus.

This pandemic has been hard on everyone, but since coming home the support has been nonstop and makes it easier because everyone is battling this together. People in Prince George have been putting up hearts on their windows and at the end of their driveways to show that we are all in this together and to support one another.

The differences my family and I have been doing are reserving our resources, being more cautious of washing our hands and touching our faces, staying home, and only taking the necessary trips to town. This pandemic has been a reality check for individuals and teaches us about making the best out the new normal. We now can see that we take our social life for granted at times and it makes everyone aware that anything could happen in a short period of time. With so much uncertainty in the world, including a seemingly growing economic recession, it is easy to become frustrated and scared, but we can’t just focus on the bad. We should use this moment to reflect on the good in life and be as productive as we can to distract ourselves. Stay safe.