The Endless Chase for My Youth

Growing up too fast due to the pandemic has begun to show its effects, and I find myself longing for moments I will never get back.
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Created by KrisxKros

Published on Aug 31, 2023
3 girls looking out over the sunset
Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

Prefacing this opinion article with just one fact: this paper is not scientific. The claims I will be making are purely a product of my own reflection.


I grew up too fast, and it is because of the pandemic.

Wow. Shocker.

I know. This is far from a unique statement. All over the world, there are testaments from those in their years of growth and discovery (mainly 2020 seniors in high school, and freshmen in college) who all agree that something was taken from them in the years they were trapped in their homes for their own safety. Something that we can’t ever get back.

But again, this paper isn’t scientific. I cannot speak in detail about the experiences of others, so I will talk about my own.

So, let’s rewind.

The pandemic began just as I was about to enter the midterms of my sophomore year of college. While I was fortunate enough to experience the entirety of the beginning of my college life like any normal person–in my dorm, away from my parents, and entrenched in nights out, on adventures or holed up in study hall. Sophomore year was when I finally felt I had found my footing in college.  I had begun building up routines, strengthening my friendships, and getting the hang of the ins and outs of life within and on the streets of my college area.  As I had been getting more familiar with life in my university zone–the best cafes, the ways to get around and escape, and the places to go for a good night out–March 2020 came around. 

Then, time seemed to stop.

Very quickly, we had been alerted that we had to pack up our stuff and head home before cities and airports went on lockdown.

I thought it would be a two-week break from classes–not the altogether end of my college life and the rest of my youth.

We all know the rest of the story.

For the next two years, I finished all my college classes and did all my schoolwork from the confines of my bedroom, on a desk I hadn’t really touched since high school. I finished college with the visuals of the little confetti that pops up when you submit an assignment on time on Canvas. I did it all by myself.

I’m just grateful that at least I got to graduate onsite with my batchmates. At least that was one experience that hadn’t been taken from those in my batch.

Even so, the entire experience robbed me, and so many others of so many more things. From the magic of mundane evenings turned into late-night adventures, nights out so crazy that only videos can bring back the memories, and days so filled with light and wonder that it makes you excited that there is so much more life left to live. Those days of my youth were cut short for me, and I feel like I will be constantly chasing those moments.

Now that the world has opened up once again, I am so far from who I was when it first shut down. From a wide-eyed sophomore still enchanted by the freedom of university life, to the nine-to-five working-world newbie. By this point, I should have calmed down. I should have experienced the newness of adulthood in the confines of my university zone in order to settle into the routine that comes with working corporate. Now, though, I feel like I’m constantly chasing the hours, filling my time with dinners out, nights outside after work, and trips on the weekends to find the magic that even the mundane had brought me when I was still in the academe.

I talked about this dilemma with a friend once. No matter how much I go out or go crazy with the things I do with my life, there was an entirely different magic to just sitting in the dorm building lobby with my best friends at midnight. 

While I am still closely in touch with many of those I considered my closest friends during onsite university days, there is no longer the connection forged out of having them be my family away from family. Those who I could rely on to be there when my room got too quiet, or my fridge got too empty. 

And because of how fast, and how unexpected the moments we had were taken away from me, I will be constantly finding ways to get even a moment of that feeling back.

So now, even if things will never be the same, I try with all my might to enjoy every moment and soak in every possible experience. Though one magical moment in time was stolen from me, I refuse to let more time go by unused, even if it will never be the same. 

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