You would think that the first time you hear about COVID-19 it wouldn’t be so much of a big deal. Being a 12th grade senior was supposed to be the most exciting year of my high school life. I never would’ve thought COVID-19 would impact my future, going out of state for college, working, and going to church. So many things are different due to the virus.  

Growing up, I always wanted to be my own person and be an “independent woman.” I wanted to do my own thing and do it the right way. When COVID-19 came about and all the schools were cancelled until September, I was upset. I was furious because I worked so hard for graduation and looked forward to going to prom. My heart shattered because this also meant that I‘m not able to go away for college. I can’t go away because my parents aren’t working anymore, so no deposit for school, and no shopping for things I need. I didn’t even know the process for committing out of state nor did I see my doctor to get a checkup or dentist, no car or driver’s license. Everything is closed and there is nothing I can do to change that.  

It took a while for me to adjust to the new decision I made because I was ready to start a new life. One thing this pandemic has taught me is to always have a plan b in anything you do. In all honesty I am glad that I made the decision to stay in New York and attend Borough of Manhattan Community College. My family has supported me through this crazy journey. My sister convinced me to do the two years and graduate with an Associate’s degree. Things haven’t been easy, but I know God will help me and we will get through this pandemic.  

One way I envision my future as a college student is a lot of stress, sweat, and tears. Nothing in life will be handed to me. Everything is to be earned the hard way. That is something everyone needs to understand. I always envision myself as a good leader to young ones so I see my future as an early childhood teacher. I see myself helping students with their homework and classwork. I love helping kids with whatever they may, need and supporting them to have a better understanding of life.  

Johanna Guilty is a high school senior who in participates in youth programs through the Read Alliance.