I still remember the first time that I realized that COVID-19 might end up being a little bit of a big deal. I was in a friend’s basement and we were having a Grammy’s watch party, we were eating junk food and complaining about how few actual awards had been handed out more than an hour into the proceedings. Someone brought up COVID-19 and asked if anybody was kind of freaked out. We all said no and laughed it off; back then, the coronavirus was a problem that was literally on the other side of the world. I’m pretty sure that’s the last time that all my friends were able to hang out in one place. I never thought I’d get to a place in my life where sitting in an enclosed space with 10 other people felt like some kind of luxury from a million years ago. That really is the thing that I’ve missed the most over the past year. I can handle doing online school, there are even some perks to it. Plus, I’ve been able to cover some sports remotely which has been great. I’ve been able to adapt to most changes in my life, but one thing that there really is no true replacement or online workaround for is spending time with my friends. We can text and Snapchat, but it’s really not the same. They’re the most important people in my life and not being able to plan a last minute get-together, grab coffee or drop by someone’s house just to hang out has really sucked. I know a lot of folks will say that continuing to work and go to school is the true show of resilience, but I think even if we didn’t do those things, we should all be incredibly proud. Just showing up and still being here after this year from hell is an amazing achievement. Here at The Brock Press, I’ve written about more topics than I ever thought I would. When I first started writing for the paper more than two years ago now, I was in the sports section. I knew pretty much what I’d be doing every week; it was some combination of rugby, hockey, sometimes volleyball, sometimes curling or wrestling. No matter what, I knew that I’d be going to a game or a tournament, I’d be talking to some coaches and athletes and then I’d be going home and writing some articles. This year though, every week was different. Some weeks I got to write about Brock Sports and what was going on with programs dealing with COVID-19. A lot of weeks though, I’d get a message on Slack from our News Editor Chad asking me if I could cover something for the News section (also shoutout Chad for always throwing interesting stories at me). I never thought that I’d be able to do News, but honestly, I think it was great. I met a lot of amazing people and got to tell a lot of really cool stories. I will say though, I ended up writing the phrase, “due to COVID-19,” more often than I care to admit. Academically, I’m having a much better time than I was last year. I ended up changing my major (sorry Humanities, Sport Management is my new best friend) and finally realized what it’s like to actually enjoy your program. Also, something about being able to watch lectures on double speed at 2 a.m. if I was a little behind made the whole online school thing feel a bit more manageable. I played a lot of video games (shoutout Red Dead Redemption 2, that bad boy’s long), baked a lot of bread and dyed my hair green. It’s been a ride. I’ve got hope for the rest of 2021. Seeing people I know get vaccinated gives me genuine optimism about the future for the first time in God knows how long. My grandfather recently got his first shot and I actually did a little happy dance when I found that out. I keep saying that I’d let them put the vaccine on a steak knife and stab me with it if that’s what it takes. Though that might be just a little bit dramatic, it’s not far from the truth. I have a lifelong fear of needles that has been immediately cured by pandemic-induced isolation. I’ve never been this excited to get a shot in my life.