COVID-19 one year later: COVID-19 tide appears to be shifting

Roots editor chose Evergreen job over California town; campus is beginning to look normal again



Roots editor Jenae Laxson quarantined in her family’s home in the mountains, but it was not the vacation she hoped for.

JENAE LAXSON, Evergreen roots editor

I still remember the day all too well when WSU announced that we would not be returning to in-person classes for the rest of the semester last spring. At the time, everyone thought we would only be staying home for two weeks, but university students knew different. 

Our professors did not try to hide from us that we would not see them in person again. From there, it spiraled out of control. Most of my professors did their absolute best to get us through the rest of the semester. 

They were there for my classmates and I, but that did not stop my mental health from circling the drain. 

Many people went home to their families, but I did not. Instead of staying together, my family shipped me off to the mountains to quarantine in our vacation home with our two dogs. But it was anything but a vacation. 

My dad was classified as an essential worker and had to stay in the city to oversee operations at his company. Meanwhile, my mom took on the quarantine project of her life by preparing for their move to California. 

I spent most of my time in quarantine alone. At most, I saw my parents on the weekend for 36 hours. I had no one to talk to except for my dog, Laney — and at times I’m pretty sure she talked back. 

But there is always a silver lining. Mine included the arrival of my two favorite little humans. With my little cousins running amuck, the house felt alive again. The weekends were full of laughter, Frozen 2 and four-wheeler rides. 

These times were nothing short of perfect and made me forget the current situation we were all facing. I wished the weekends could last forever, so I made sure to savor every moment of time I had with them. Even if the youngest did demand that I sing along to Frozen 2. 

Seeing their smiling faces definitely powered me through what would be the rest of a very difficult semester. 

After the spring semester came to a close, the only thing on my mind was figuring out how many comedy movies I could cram into a day. 

A quote I subscribe to is “If you aren’t laughing, you aren’t living,” and this was something I felt was missing in my life. Before quarantine, I was the clown amongst my friends. One of my favorite things to do is get even the most stoic of my friends to crack a smile. 

As the summer went on, I had to make some tough decisions: to continue my education online in Pullman or move to California with my parents. The thought of sitting at a desk in my apartment on Zoom was not appealing to me in the least. And after visiting the town my parents would be calling home, the thought was even less appealing. 

It is pretty hard for anywhere to beat the beautiful town of Copperopolis, California during a pandemic or even when things are normal. I am someone who enjoys spending my days in the sun riding horses, ATVing or just lounging around on a cafe patio. I was ready to commit to that life for the time being. 

What changed my mind was an offer to work at The Daily Evergreen. In the long run, it ended up being the best decision and one I would not change. 

The fall semester was not easy. We were all still heavily quarantined and campus felt like a ghost town compared to the hustle and bustle it typically is. Fortunately, the tide appears to be shifting.

Anyone who has visited campus this semester has probably noticed there are a lot more people on campus compared to last semester. This is great to see. To me, it signifies the desire everyone has to reunite as a community. 

I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be in person for newspaper production this semester. I cannot tell you how much I love being in Murrow Hall and experiencing a piece of normalcy, or as close to it as we can get at this time.