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Leaving Downtown Pittsburgh Behind

By Amanda Andrews

I sat in the back of my family’s minivan, piled high with a mini-fridge, a large suitcase, books and notebooks spilling out of several plastic bags. My older sister had the windows rolled down, and the air was brisk as we pulled onto Boulevard of the Allies and away from the campus I had called home since September of last year. We entered the Liberty Tunnel without any ceremony. 

That was the last I have seen of Downtown Pittsburgh since.   

For some, this pandemic has horrifically and irrevocably altered their lives. For me, both everything and nothing has changed, but I have yet to truly feel the desperation I have seen people express on social media. I am incredibly lucky to still have a job, to not have my shifts cut back, to have school to keep myself distracted.

But it would be a disservice to myself and my family if I said that this transition has been without any difficulties. 

As I write this, I sit on a messy mound of discarded blankets, surrounded by piles of laundry, notebooks and miscellaneous items strewn about the floor — the suitcase unzipped and being used as a chaotic dresser of sorts. I have not unpacked my things in any way since I deposited them in my bedroom more than a month ago. I have found over the years that the state of my bedroom reflects the state of my mind. Perhaps I am not the only out there unable to cope with the changes but pretending to do so. 

I have no advice to give. I am an amateur at everything; I’m just a college student trying to graduate someday. 

Hopefully, in the quiet spaces of the coming days, I will find an answer. 

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