Author is Alexis Horton
‘Going the Social Distance’ is a series by Loyola Students for Loyola Students about the triumphs and terrors of trying, or not trying, to maintain a social life during a pandemic.
For the third year in a row, I was given the opportunity to work for the Louisiana State Senate, but this year looked a little different from years past. My journey this summer was one that I will never forget because, during that time, I learned the importance of flexibility, perseverance and compassion.
At 16 years-old, I was first hired to work for the senate as a page. My job included running papers to every office building, grabbing coffee for busy senators and a number of duties not listed in the job description.
Now at 19 years-old, I am a head page. I work alongside law students and some of the greatest minds in the state. On Friday, March 20, I packed my bags and left my Biever dorm room, totally unaware of just how drastically COVID-19 would change the entire country. Saturday, March 21, I was told to arrive in Baton Rouge that Monday.
COVID-19 forced us all into uncomfortable situations. Mine was that for three months, I drove 160 miles EVERY SINGLE DAY. I woke up at 5:45 a.m. so that I could be at work at 8:00 a.m. I listened to every true crime podcast and dozens of celebrity interviews. I quickly became tired of fast food and long car rides.
However, my life was vastly different from that of others my age. I worked in one of the most incredible environments with some of the greatest minds in the state. I watched as possibilities became progress. I saw a side of “politics” that many refuse to acknowledge— humanity. Behind every law, there is a purpose, every bill, a brilliant story, and a group that is passionate about changing the world.
After a few weeks of lockdown, the cases of COVID-19 steadily grew, but with my mask on, I worked at the State capitol until July 1. It was an experience that taught me more about policymaking than a civics lesson could ever. I worked weekends and paid hundreds of dollars in gas money. I became friends with one gentleman at a gas station—we bonded over my potato chip addiction.
Now in October, I have returned to the senate for the fall extraordinary session. I am a second-year student, and I still drive every day. On top of that, I am a member of Gamma Phi Beta where I hold a few leadership positions, I serve on Women in Politics as the co-director of outreach and I am a returning student ambassador. My best friends laugh and remind me to take a deep breath once in a while.
The world is adjusting to a new normal, and I can’t help but reflect on how everyone’s actions impact others. I can’t help but reflect on how different I have become over the course of quarantine life, but different is OK. I am grateful for this opportunity and for a once in a lifetime learning experience.