Country of Origin: United States of America
For introverts, you’d think that the pandemic would be fun. Or at least something they’d be used to. It all sounds pretty normal: staying inside, watching something on a streaming service, and spending too much money on a food delivery app. You’d be mostly right if you were talking to this introvert. But this introvert also struggled. And this introvert even missed talking to people.
My name is Anna Bechtel. I am originally from Hamden, Connecticut, in the United States. However, at the beginning of 2020, I was at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.
The pandemic hit during my senior year of college. I know, it sucks, the world hates me. At first, I thought this was like the previous crazy illnesses, like swine flu or ebola. I realized that wasn’t the case when I returned from spring break.
My college responded immediately, first by suspending in-person classes for a few weeks. A few days after that announcement, in-person classes were suspended for the rest of the semester, and everyone eventually had to head home. I went back to Hamden a few days after this was announced.
Being at home was nice at first. I got to catch up on all the TV I missed. I ordered food from my favorite local places. I watched a bunch of livestreams and online events. And I was able to get all my schoolwork done.
After I graduated in early May 2021, staying at home was less fun. I feel like that’s when the fun part of the pandemic ended for everyone. However, I struggled with more than just boredom and cabin fever. I felt stuck, I felt like a failure.
Two years later, I’m still struggling with those feelings.
As someone in their 20s, society has told us that we have to go out, start our careers, find our lifelong group of friends, and date up a storm. Unfortunately, those things weren’t happening for me.
Fast forward to the present day and I’m a full-time contract writer for a website. However, I still don’t really know my coworkers all that well. I still feel uncomfortable messaging them on Slack, and I’ve worked there for over a year. Honestly, it’s hard to forge close bonds with people virtually. This also makes finding friends and romantic partners difficult. When you’re messaging someone, you have no idea how they actually feel about you. And unlike coworkers, these people can just stop talking to you if they aren’t feeling it – but I know I have to conquer that fear and put myself out there.
Now, staying at home is just a choice since we’ve developed ways to be in public and not have to worry about getting the virus. Ever since then, I’ve been trying to increase my social circle. I’ve been going out more, and am trying new things. Since 2020, I feel like I’ve gotten better at social interactions. I wouldn’t say I’m amazing, but I’ve come a long way. I’ve made some new friends – and they seem to tolerate me (which means I’m doing something right!)
We’ve all struggled in our own respective ways these past three years. Now, I want to take advantage of the insights that this challenging period gave me to keep growing. There’s nothing in my way anymore, so I’m going to go for it.
Thank you to Jullia Joson and Julianna Wages for their inspired edit on this piece and everyone else on the Lifestyle & Relationships team.
If you are interested in submitting a piece to the DG Sentinel, please visit our submissions page here.