By Rachel Calafell

I am 17 years old and I am living through my first pandemic. I work at an essential business. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began my whole life has changed. My schoolwork is now entirely online and my work needs me to be there 4x more than they used to. I have found that my life feels somewhat stopped because everything is changing. This is not normal. This is a new reality but this is not the new normal. But behind the gloves and the mask I am continuing to smile. When I work I continue to laugh. Perhaps I am grasping but for me this is what is keeping me going. Holding onto hope. Seeing nurses working around the clock in dangerous conditions but still providing  the best possible care that they can, that is hope. Seeing neighbors helping neighbors carrying and bringing them groceries, that is hope. Seeing one person helping another, that is hope. Seeing people uniting together to flatten the curve, that is hope. In circumstances in which everyone is at risk and in which is a total uncertainty, there is hope. I smile and I laugh because I am hopeful for what tomorrow brings. It is a time of great uncertainty and concern, but despite this, I implore everyone to please, hold onto hope.