Why does it feel like we forgot COVID?

Social Distancing Mat | Ariana Rodriguez, PantherNOW via Canva

Ariana Rodriguez | Staff Writer

Almost 4 years later, is COVID even relevant? We all talk about the pandemic occasionally in reference to lockdown or how “cringe” we used to be, but never about the actual virus. But why?

For over two years, students across the world have navigated remote learning, quarantines, and constantly changing guidelines. Throughout this turmoil, we seemed to have forgotten all the struggles we went through, even downplaying it. 

Lately, there seems to be a growing trend: many college students seemingly forget about COVID. This phenomenon can be attributed to a combination of factors, including pandemic fatigue, evolving public perceptions, and the urge to reclaim a sense of normalcy.

Reports such as National Health Institute, ABC News, and Harvard Health show that one of the primary reasons college students may be forgetting about COVID is pandemic fatigue. After more than two years of disrupted routines, social isolation, and stress, many students are experiencing burnout. The constant worry, social restrictions, and fear of the virus have taken a toll on their mental health. 

As a result, we might be inclined to downplay the pandemic’s severity or overlook guidelines simply because we are tired of living in constant fear. For this reason, people want to forget the pain and suffering and just think about their cringey 2020 cowprint phase. We cannot forget history and the impact the pandemic had and still has on so many people.

On another note, throughout the pandemic, the public has been exposed to an overwhelming amount of information and often conflicting messages about COVID. The constant stream of news, guidelines, and scientific updates can cause students to become desensitized to COVID information, making them less likely to pay attention to new updates such as different strands of COVID like delta or omicron

In the same sense, throughout the pandemic, many people were robbed of important experiences. From orientation to graduation, college is typically a time for young adults to explore newfound independence and social connections. The desire to return to a semblance of pre-pandemic life is strong, we want to party and have typical college fun without the dread of a lethal virus. 

Although I understand why people want to move on and forget about the pandemic, I feel like it’s vital to remember what COVID did to so many of us. Being locked in isolation for so long was not only extremely difficult for many, but even traumatizing.

Fearing for your life locked in your room, missing out on vital growth experiences. One of the most prevalent forms of trauma from the pandemic is related to mental health. 

The stress, anxiety, and uncertainty associated with the virus have taken a significant toll on individuals’ mental well-being. Increased rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues have been observed globally.

Many grow socially inept due to lack of social interactions during the pandemic, and I know I struggled coming back to the real world in 2021. Realizing how fast time flies, and how deep down I still feel like a 17-year-old girl.

It’s frustrating seeing people glamorize the pandemic saying “2020 was the best” or “lockdown vibes” when being locked at home was so damaging, not just for me, but for millions worldwide. History only repeats itself when we fall into the same patterns, and it’s important to remember COVID for what it truly was: a devastating pandemic.

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