My Story: Lost and Found


Kakarla with her basketball team.

On March 13, 2020, I was 13 years old. Now, I’m 15. After two years and a pandemic, I’m a much different person.

When I first heard that Ann Arbor Public Schools was closing schools for an extended spring break, I was elated. I was tired of the busy daily routine I had fallen into with school, clubs and sports. I expected to fill the time with the fun I felt I’d been missing out on. As a naive 8th grader, I was convinced it was going to be a great two weeks. And it was. In the beginning at least. I spent hours watching Netflix, reading books, going on runs and baking; all things I had wanted to do, but had lacked the time for.

That was when the pandemic began to spiral out of control. Every time I looked at CNN or the New York Times, stark headlines caught my eye: “Sick People Across the U.S. Say They Are Being Denied the Coronavirus Test”, “Italy’s Health Care System Groans Under Coronavirus – a Warning to the World”, “N.C.A.A Basketball Tournaments Cancelled Amid Coronavirus Outbreak.” It became apparent that we weren’t going to resume “regular life” anytime soon.

As the weeks went on the excitement wore away to boredom. There was only so much to do within the confines of my home. I began to feel lost. I had always been the busy girl. I filled my time to the brim each and every day with things I enjoyed. Even though a small break was nice, by April I wanted my old life back. Who was I without all the activities that had for so long defined me?

That June I graduated 8th grade – online, of course. With no school, my time became even more empty. I continued to practice basketball and run at home. Hoping that – against all odds – my travel basketball season would resume or that I could at least practice with my team.

Although I began to find new pastimes like baking, running and my first job as a softball umpire, I still felt something was missing. Every day felt the same. A never-ending routine that made time move slower than it had before. With nothing else to do, I spent more time with myself. Through the last 22 months I have learned so much more about who I am. This year, starting my sophomore year in person, I began to rejoin clubs, invest myself more in my school work and continue to do the sports I had missed so much before. But, this time they were only a part of my identity.

So much of the pandemic was filled with sadness, fear and loss. The murder of Geroge Floyd, the 5.5+ million people who lost their lives to Covid and an uncountable number who lost loved ones.

These tragedies have had a profound impact on me and almost everyone I know. There is an abundance of sad things that have happened during the pandemic. However, there is also some good that has been found. The pandemic is often described as time lost. This may be true but it has also given many a time to find themselves.