2020: More than the COVID-19 year? – My review of the year

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SCHOOL STORIES 2020 was going to be my year. 2019 hadn’t always been easy, so I resolved to make 2020 the best year ever. I was looking forward to finally taking control of my life and doing all the things I had always wanted to do. And until February, everything was indeed going according to plan. Then COVID-19 came along.

February 2020: It was on winter holiday when we first heard about a new kind of virus that had broken out in China. It sounded interesting, but not really threatening. Over the next few weeks, the “Corona” situation (Corona – that’s what the media called the virus) worsened. A whole ship had to be quarantined. The virus came to Europe. Italy was one of the first to be hit. Its health system was quickly overloaded. Slowly it became clear: COVID-19 would have even more consequences.

School closures

On Friday, 13th March 2020 I wrote in my diary:

13th March 2020
Dear Diary, 									
this time Friday the 13th lived up to its name (probably the first time since I was born). School has been extremely stressful and I am physically and mentally totally exhausted. The exams were supposed to start next week. They were SUPPOSED - that has now fallen through due to the Corona crisis: Germany-wide school closures until after the Easter holidays (in Saxony-Anhalt until 13th April)! So crass, I can hardly believe it. After all, this pandemic is a kind of flu wave. So is all this really necessary? Last night, Saarland and Bavaria had already shut down - until the other federal states followed suit, you just had to count the hours. If the government had wanted to prevent this, they should have closed the borders to Italy right away. This transformation: a fortnight ago we were watching the quarantines on cruise ships and now? 
Number of cases at 5:24 pm: 138,717 cases with 5,108 deaths WORLDWIDE, 3,481 cases with 8 deaths in GERMANY and 15,113 cases with 1,016 deaths in ITALY. 
4 weeks ... So much time to do cool stuff ... but like what?

Today these numbers look almost ridiculous, if you compare them with more recent data. But it was during this time that I first really became aware of what a PANDEMIC actually is. I’m sure we’ve all heard of an EPIDEMIC and probably thought of the plagues of the Middle Ages. But right now this virus was a PANDEMIC, that is, a more widespread, indeed global form of an EPIDEMIC. As a planning-oriented person, it almost drove me crazy not to be able to say anything about the near future. But I knew: Now, in 2020, we are experiencing history that will still be talked about in 50 years.

At home

It was going to be a gruelling but also incredibly exciting 11 weeks of homeschooling. After some initial boredom and a few writing competitions, I finally founded the blog that I could devote myself to completely (you can read the whole story here). In fact, I wasn’t really into journalism before, but my blog proved me wrong. I came down and felt like myself again for the first time in months. We started daily bike rides, after which I not only knew our entire forest by heart, but still had tons of photos of me and dad all craving attention (-> the beginning of my Instagram accounts beejar2003 and beejar.nature).

Forest pic: Me next to a pond

I was doing pretty well with homeschooling – much better than the great whole rest of my classmates. I had always loved going to school, but this, the self-work and the fun – if often annoying – online conferences, it was just my thing. I almost wish it could go on forever. But of course I wasgoing to do my A-levels next year. I would get through that one year. At the moment, though, I was incredibly happy not to be part of this year’s A-level cohort.

Summer 2020

Back at school, a relaxed and fun time of alternate lessons and exam substitutions began. Being alone with a few classmates for 45 minutes of each teaching block does have its advantages … Only the compulsory wearing of masks on the bus got on my nerves on some days. My initial concerns that it would now become very stressful (after all, we needed at least 3 grades per subject) turned into quiet mists that slowly faded during the first weeks of summer.

After holding my second, very successful certificate of achievement (my report card) in my hand, I started the summer with a strange feeling. The first COVID-19 wave was mostly over, but our annual summer holiday to Turkey, a non-EU country, would probably be cancelled. At very short notice, we rebooked and ended up in Crete with our holiday acquaintances. The Greek island enchanted us with its landscapes and turned an otherwise lazy summer holiday into a real experience. An experience I would not want to miss again. And yet the ulterior motive remained: what would our summer holiday 2020 have been like if Corona had not existed?

Holiday Pic: Me in Crete

Second wave

In September 2020, I was not only preoccupied with the thought that I was now in Grade 12 and that my A-levels were imminent. Rather, it was the question: when will the second Corona wave come? The omens became more and more dense, at the same time the pressure at school increased. Grade 11 had been exhausting, but grade 12 topped it. I no longer liked going to school.

Only the upcoming autumn holidays promised a little relaxation. We had rented a motorhome and planned to explore the Bodensee and the foothills of the Alps. As if we had already guessed in June that most guesthouses and hotels would be closed in October … In fact, something else exciting was happening in my life at that time. I registered for my first flat in Potsdam. In just one year, my physics studies were to begin.

25th October 2020
Dear diary, 									
a lot has happened since the last time. In the meantime, the autumn holidays are (as good as) over. And it's not just Corona that's going crazy. For all subsequent generations reading this: Yes, it's 2020 - the (perhaps first) Corona year and yes, the second wave has hit not only Europe full force. 14,000 new infections per day in Germany, in France it was already 27,000, every third county is a risk area (more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in 7 days), and so on. They are still trying desperately to keep everything open - especially schools. But the first local shutdowns have already taken place. It all seems to be just a question of time ...

Another lockdown

The Lockdown-Light (schools and shops remained open) came in November 2020. Restaurants and almost all recreational activities had to close. The dance studio I went to was able to stay open under special conditions – for now. Masks had to be worn by everyone during all classes. The cross-thinking movement – called “Corona Deniers” by many, which had already been protesting for months against the restrictions on freedom in favour of protection against infection, gained a lot of media attention.

There were moments when I didn’t want to know anything about Corona. This issue, subconsciously stuck between all the words, became too much for me. In the midst of this confusing time, however, I soon found peace in my Christmas preparations. I eagerly thought of presents and sang Christmas carols. It was distracting. I didn’t care that the normal Christmas feast with Christmas market and all the trimmings would be cancelled. I was happy when the lockdown was tightened in December.

Divided feelings

After we had received our third certificate of achievement on 15/12/2020 (you can read more about this crazy day here), redemption was revealed the next day: distance learning – from home. 3 still somewhat stressful days began before the Christmas holidays started the next week. That was 10 days ago now. 10 days in which I was able to distance myself once again. From all the chaos in the world and especially from Corona. 2021 will be a hundred times better.

UPDATE 31/12/2020: As of today, there were/are 1,741,153 Corona cases with 33,230 deaths in GERMANY, including 32,552 new infections yesterday alone. WORLDWIDE there were/are 82,745,324 cases with a total of 1,805,521 deaths. Where is this going to go from here? The situation is hard to imagine if you are not directly affected. Since I know people who have had COVID-19, all I can say is: be happy if you don’t know anyone with this virus.

Dear diary, 									      31st  December 2020
I would never have thought that I would find myself in blogmaja like this - not to mention its success (a whole 355 views on 28.12.2020!). Will 2021 also hold such surprises? But of course, next year I have my A-levels coming up, then a whole 4 months at home before I move to Potsdam. Isn't that exciting?
In the meantime, we all no longer believe we'll be able to take a normal graduation, but hope for our graduation ball dies last. First we will survive the lockdown (currently until 10/01/21, but the debates on an extension are ongoing) and then see what happens. Who knows how many more Corona years will follow. Which reminds me: vaccination started in Germany a few days ago ...
Nevertheless, I don't want to call 2020 a bad year. In fact, Corona has more than enriched my life this year and made some exciting experiences possible. Why don't we just accept the way things are and make the best of it instead of getting upset about the messed-up 2020? I, at least, have firmly resolved to do that next year.

Let’s make 2021 the best year ever! Let’s start now with a few New Year’s resolutions

Note: My impressions described here, just like the diary entries, are genuine and not spiced up for entertainment.

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