Going From “It’s Corona Time!!!” to “FU, Corona”


One writer continues running despite the cancelation of her track season. (Courtesy of Flickr)

This was not exactly the way I pictured freshman year to end.

Just a month ago, a lot of people, myself included, did not take the COVID-19 virus seriously. I retweeted memes about it. My roommate and I drew a headcount on our dorm room’s whiteboard counting New York cases. We poked fun at the new posters dotting the Fordham bathroom doors, advising everyone to wash their hands. When Fordham canceled classes until further notice on March 9, many students celebrated together on Eddie’s Parade. I credited the coronavirus with “coming in clutch” for extending spring break on my Instagram. I expected the issue to be prevalent in the news for maybe a week before it vanished once and for all. 

However, after that fateful day on Eddie’s, the situation immediately grew increasingly serious in the United States. The memes decorating the Internet transformed into precautionary messages, telling everyone the ever-rising death statistics and infection rates. Tally marks covered our whiteboard within days. The Ivy League rescinded all their spring sports seasons. The NBA followed suit, suspending their season after a player tested positive for COVID-19. However, things got real for me the moment the NCAA declared that all national championships for every sport were canceled for good. March Madness hadn’t even started yet, and athletes at the NCAA Indoor Track National Championships had to pack up and go home right after their arrival in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

I anxiously refreshed my Twitter feed for days after the NCAA’s announcement, hoping the A-10 would allow our outdoor track season to continue, but I knew the inevitable was coming. Our practices were suspended on the morning of March 12, and the A-10 canceled the entire season mere hours later. 

When I heard the news with a friend over the phone, I felt crushed and almost empty inside. As an outdoor track athlete, I anticipated the coming season for weeks — I rediscovered my groove after a difficult few weeks of adjusting to a new collegiate racing atmosphere. I hoped to use my newfound experience from the indoor season to drop some personal records and contribute more to the team once heading outside. Even more so, I couldn’t wait to spend more time with my teammates and have an amazing season for the seniors’ last hurrah. Now there was nothing. No practice, no races, no more caf sessions, just nothing. I was one of the lucky ones, though — I still have three years of collegiate racing left, with a potential fourth thanks to the NCAA promising all athletes an extra season of eligibility. However, a majority of the seniors had run their final collegiate races ever without even knowing it. Our time with them had come to an end without anyone realizing.

Everything changed so abruptly, and I’m still trying to grasp this newfound reality. My team and I eyed the outdoor championships just a week ago, and now we have started preparing for the cross country season. We still have five months before it even begins. Our dorms closed and I hastily found my way back home in Connecticut, with all my college friends scattered across the country. Upon returning home I hoped to fill up my free time working, but the mayor quickly shut most businesses down to prevent the spread.  Now, I’m trapped in my basement, searching for a sense of purpose. Without track, what exactly am I training towards? Ever since elementary school, track and field always took prominence during the spring season. Now, there’s nothing.

I’m not intending to sound whiny — I am aware a lot of students, especially seniors on all educational levels, have it much worse. But a busy schedule has just been something I’ve always known. I’m always, literally, running around, either training or working or studying. Now, I’m sitting in my basement every single day barely finding something to do until online classes resume. My sense of purpose is practically vacant. I keep telling myself it’s a blessing in disguise, and quarantine forcing me to relax will help my mental state.

For starters, quarantine has led to me practically becoming a kid again. I played LEGO Star Wars with my sister for hours on our aging WiiU. I whipped out my old paintbrushes and put on some Bob Ross on Netflix. I made chocolate chip cookies for my parents and managed to not completely trash my entire kitchen. I even rediscovered my old Nintendo DSi underneath my bed, and I’ve spent the past couple days trying to do something fifth grade Taylor never could — beat the game in Harvest Moon. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will. Eventually. However, the scariest part of all of this is the potential that I am evolving into that person who resides in their mom’s basement and stuffs their face with Oreos until their mid-thirties. It won’t go to that extreme, but you get the idea. My mom has already jokingly declared me a “junkie” after finding me curled up in bed, intensely clicking away on my DS and ravaging through an open pack of Mega Stuff Oreos.

Despite all the temptations home has to offer, such as sleeping in past noon and staying inside all day long, I still train every single day. It’s not the same without my team in person, but my morale stays boosted thanks to a lot of technological motivation from my coaches and teammates. We send a lot of funny, uplifting messages in our group chats to heighten spirits and spread positivity instead of germs. We’ve even live-streamed core workouts and stretches on our Instagram — I spent most of them doing a combination of the exercises themselves and laughing hysterically at the comment section. 

I’m hoping that with a many people choosing to isolate and quarantine, the pandemic will improve – but my gut tells me it’s going to be around for a long time. It’s crazy to think that these moment will be written in our history books someday. But it doesn’t change the fact that a huge portion of my freshman experience has been ripped away.