For Kylie Sprott, a first-year St. Thomas University student, the last day of 2020 didn’t feel like New Year’s Eve.
“Our family puts on an annual Sequence [board game] tournament and we invite all our friends over to our camp,” said Sprott. “This year we kept it with just the family because of COVID-19. We all wanted to be safe.”
With COVID-19 case numbers rising in Canada and around the world, and with safety restrictions in place, Sprott and many others were unable to ring in the new year as normal. Sprott said seeing photos of her peers posted online made her feel like she was trapped.
“Just seeing people who were together with friends – even though they weren’t really supposed to be – gave me a feeling of missing out. But knowing I did my part, staying home and not spreading COVID-19 [helped],” she said.
Despite the pandemic, Lauren Hayes, another first-year STU student, made the best of the holiday.
“I did get together with some friends because we were in [the yellow level of recovery] at that point. It was nice just being around the people that are really important to you,” said Hayes. “Just because there weren’t as many people doesn’t mean I didn’t have a good time.”
Hayes said she was excited for a fresh start in 2021, but when all of New Brunswick returned to the orange phase in early January, it felt like 2020 was dragging into the new year.
“I know it’s for our benefit, but I’m hoping the orange phase will be over in the next few weeks because I still feel like I’m in the 2020 dumpster fire,” she said.
Hayes spent her night sitting around and chatting with friends.
Jonathan DesRoches, also a first-year STU student, said this unusual New Year’s Eve was an opportunity to bond with his loved ones.
“It was just my sister, my parents and I. We had a good time and spent it as a family, which I really appreciated,” he said.
DesRoches is more optimistic about 2021 since COVID-19 vaccines are slowly being distributed.
“Once the vaccines started getting shipped out, that felt like a new start. The weight lifted off your shoulders,” he said.
Following a chaotic year, Sprott, DesRoches and Hayes made self-care their New Year’s resolutions.
Sprott’s resolution is to go to the gym more and DesRoches plans to continue going to the gym. Hayes said she decided to make small resolutions.
“One of them was to drink more water, be more restful, go to bed at a good time, not wake up at noon and just be healthy toward myself,” said Hayes.
“I feel like now is the time to be selfish, not by going out and hanging out with people when there’s hundreds of cases in the province, but by putting myself first.”