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When I flipped my calendar from February to March on Monday morning, I couldn't quite wrap my head around the fact that we're here again.
Like so many of you, the COVID-19 pandemic became real to me mid-March of 2020, when stay at home orders began in parts of the country, office workers were sent home, schools closed and toilet paper hoarding escalated.
I have been trying to think back to what I was doing a year ago. I was already worried about COVID, thanks to my anxiety the fact that I work at a newspaper. My husband and I were reading personal finance books, determined to budget and plan ahead so we could buy a house. I was buying presents for a baby shower that would become the last time I saw most of my family in person. I was commuting to work and complaining about it and eating at restaurants like it was no big deal.
I'm trying to reframe my disbelief and sadness at the long haul of the pandemic and think about the future. We don't know when the moment will be, but there will be a time when I can safely see my family again. We have sacrificed so much and helped each other so much already, we can't lose steam. It's hard, it will keep being hard, but I'm more confident we can get through this than ever.
The next big hurdle for teens: Coping with big college news alone
The COVID-19 pandemic already upended one season of college admissions decisions, and now as we approach the one-year anniversary, another class of high school students are struggling with this milestone.
USA TODAY Life intern Jenna Ryu spoke with teens who are dealing with rejection and trying to figure out how to celebrate acceptances, all amid an unprecedented pandemic when their current schooling is less than idea.
"Applying to college is generally a really lonely experience, but during a time like now when human interaction is at an all time low, it's even worse," Wyatt Carter, a teen from Salisbury, North Carolina, said.
Then, he had to cope with the rejections. Without being able to see his friends in person and feeling his late fathers' absence, Carter turned to the internet to figure out how to process the disappointment. He found comfort in social platforms such as Reddit, which offered camaraderie and even some laughs during this "weird time."
Alice Helms, meanwhile, anticipated the ups and downs of the college application process, but she was was hoping to have friends by her side to ease her stress. Instead, she found herself submitting applications alone.
"I had a really difficult time getting in the groove of things," Helms said. "It was hard to just sit down and do things because of constantly being on the computer for classes."
Helms felt drained and unmotivated.
"You know at school, at least your buddies are around you. But it was difficult for me to start my applications, and I actually ended up waiting until the last week to get everything turned in."
Jenna asked the high schoolers she spoke with for advice for their peers, and they had some really great insights: One teen suggested using non-academic hobbies such as baking and scrapbooking as healthy distractions.
You can read the full story here.
Today's TV recommendations
I had a request from reader Janet Benenson for more TV recommendations, and as a TV Critic, how could I refuse?
Every month the major streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Disney+ update their libraries with new shows (and sometimes lose old shows), and so I maintain lists of the 50 or so best series to watch. Since it's a new month, I wanted to offer you all some highlights of series I'm loving right now, that maybe you haven't heard of or had a chance to watch. I hope binge-watching can offer you some distraction and relief when you need it.
If you have Netflix: “Evil." This superb CBS series follows a psychologist (Katja Herbers), a priest-in-training (Mike Colter) and a tech specialist (Aasif Mandvi) as they investigate alleged demon possessions, miracles and other phenomenon.
If you have Amazon: “The Expanse.” Epic, whip-smart and addictive, Amazon's near-future sci-fi series marries politics and space battles in the story of a future when we populate the solar system but remain culturally divided.
If you have Hulu: “Speechless." Gone too soon after just three seasons, ABC's comedy about a family in which one son has cerebral palsy is representation of disability you've never seen before, with searing satire and riotous humor.
If you have HBO Max: “Being Erica.” In this charming Canadian series, a woman (Erin Karpluk) who feels as though she has made all the wrong choices in life is given the chance by a magical “therapist” to go back in time and change them, though those trips to the past don’t always have the result she intends.
If you have Disney+: "On Pointe." This documentary about students at the School of American Ballet will satisfy viewers who love rousing sports stories and beautiful dance practice.
If you have Peacock: "Mr. Mercedes." Based on Stephen King’s recent book series, "Mercedes" is a detective mystery with flavors of the author’s signature horror. Brendan Gleeson plays retired detective Bill Hodges, who hunts for a sociopath who drove a stolen Mercedes through a crowd, killing 16 people.
You can click on each streaming service name to see my full list of recommended shows.
Our film critic Brian Truitt loved Disney's new animated film, "Raya and the Last Dragon."
More vaccines are coming, and it's because of some unprecedented cooperation.
Turning your clutter into cash? There's an app for that.
A self-driving VW bus? Sure, why not!
Meet a good boy who helps comfort a nurse on the front lines of the pandemic.
"This is Francis, she’s 4 years old and brings us so much joy!" says Sam Shumaker. "I am a RN so never had to stay home, the opposite really. But my immune compromised husband and college son are home. I have enjoyed reading along with the long pandemic road. Pets and family are comforting."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: I can't believe it's March again