What a time to live in a fever dream

Michael Olderr, staff writer

Regardless of what you think about the passage of time, I think we all can agree that 2020 has been tiresome. Every month brings in a new disaster or change, combined with a global pandemic that has made this one of the most unbearable school years in memory because of reasonable measures that mean we no longer see each other. We are forced to see the world turn and burn from the comfort of our Zoom conferences.

I wanted to be more active on campus this semester; I had plans and ideas. But with COVID-19 running rampant, those plans were on thin ice. While keeping up with studies and school work was important, the little things were missing:  the banter between classmates, the small five minutes before and after class and just walking and watching the day. Those who spot me at 3 a.m., know I walk around campus and the halls at night. It’s something I have done since I first moved into Urness and continued in Anderson and Luther. It was a simple tradition that, looking back on it, was quite magical. 

You would think that the threat of World War III would be a capper of the events of 2020, but that was just January. In the following months we got fires, international incidents and an impeachment trial of our president. All of the disasters took a toll on everyone, with each month overshadowing the previous one. Even the initial arrival of the COVID-19 outbreak seems so long ago. Most of us were out during spring break when everything went down. Then we were faced with racial injustices, anti-maskers and conspiracy theories running wild; all of these added to the sickening despair and isolation. Top that off with a toxic presidential race that feels like a return to ignorance and everything feels like a nightmare. 

Since COVID-19, being trapped inside my house as everything went down felt something akin to claustrophobia. Being cut off by the world as everything burns around you is not a good feeling. It’s like smashing your head against a wall but no one hears it (so does it make a sound?). After a couple of months, it became numbing as we are seeing a dark sense of a new normal that shouldn’t be. Even now, almost nine months from the initial outbreak in Minnesota, it feels like the pandemic has lasted a couple years at least. 

I feel robbed of something I won’t get back. I am a senior. Since I’m not in Minnesota, it feels like I am still on spring break in some twilight-zone way. Being cut off from everyone has been one of the scarring parts of this year. Not only am I processing the disasters by myself, but I am also separated from all the things that made the past years so bearable: friends, teachers and simple human interaction. The lack of it all has left me withered. Even though we connect over Zoom, it still feels like a void exists. I feel robbed of the final semester that I always wanted. 

Months and months of tragedy have left me, and no doubt others, worn out. As much as I would like to think that 2021 is going to be a magical year where things can change and the literal fires that are burning our country down would be put out, it’s not that simple. Change, especially for the better, is hard. Next year might not hold all the solutions, but we can try. To be better people can mean the weight of the world to those who see it.