Life in One Swipe

Three young women in a stadium
Young woman sitting on the top bunk in a dorm room

I swipe back and forth through my phone, comparing these two pictures that show up back-to-back in my camera roll. I try to wrap my mind around what I’m seeing.

February 2020—a picture of me and little sisters in OU’s convo center watching a basketball game. It was Siblings Weekend, so naturally campus was flooded with people. The room was packed with fans bumping into each other and cheering loudly into one another’s faces. Nobody was social distancing—nobody was wearing face masks or had several extra hand sanitizers tucked into their coat pockets. This was life before.

March 2020—a picture of me sitting in my empty dorm room after my parents and I finished packing all my things up. It was about a week after President Nellis announced to the students that campus would be closed for the remainder of Spring semester due to Covid-19. There were other families in my hall that day helping their kids clean out their dorm rooms. They shied away from us when we got a little too close. I didn’t blame them—nobody really understood what was happening yet. This was life after.

It’s incredible to me, how much changed in just one month’s time. It amazes me, how quickly our lives were turned upside down. In one picture I see the life I lived for nineteen years, when the biggest thing I had to worry about was climbing over a strangers’ knees and invading their personal space while struggling to get to my seat. But with the simple swipe of a finger, I see my new life. A life weighed down by regulations and restrictions. A life in which I’m not allowed to have a dorm room or go to basketball games.

I blink at my phone screen and shake my head. I think about how long 2020 felt as everyday things slowly got worse and quarantine dragged on. But in reality, 2020 was one quick swipe. One moment, life was normal, and the next it was upheaved. Nobody could have prepared us for this.