‘I was locked up alone with myself, and I found peace. Through the struggle I gained confidence.’
Diego Hernandez, Daniel Pearl Magnet High School
When I was a freshman, I expected a normal high school experience, as anyone would. Any chance of that happening ended my second year.
The latter half of my sophomore year was the start of the lockdown — or what we were told at first, “a two-week break.” I still remember feeling helpless and being told “it gets better,” but what did they know?
When I got back onto campus, everyone and everything had changed. At the beginning of the pandemic, I was a loudmouth with no confidence or any idea what I wanted to do with my life. But confronted with prolonged isolation, I was given the opportunity to explore all aspects of myself.
I was locked up alone with myself, and I found peace. Through the struggle I gained confidence, emotional intelligence and self-love. I entered the cage a brat with no sense of direction, and escaped a smarter, braver, happier person. (I am still a loudmouth.)
My point is, embrace who you are, and if you don’t like what you see, you can change. Humans have this wonderful ability to see whatever we want in the world. It all starts with self-discovery, and it took me all four years of high school to realize that.
And I can confidently say now that it gets better.